Opposition leader Raila Odinga has announced that Tanzanian President Samia Suluhu Hassan has agreed to support his bid for the African Union (AU) chairmanship position. This endorsement comes as Raila intensifies efforts to consolidate votes within the East African Community (EAC) for his candidacy.

Raila shared the news during a public address in Marani, Kisii, expressing his gratitude for President Suluhu’s backing. He emphasized his intention to unify the EAC bloc in support of his AU bid and revealed plans to seek further support from Rwandan President Paul Kagame during an upcoming trip to Kigali.

Acknowledging previous speculations that Tanzania might nominate former President Jakaya Kikwete to compete against him for the AU Commission chairperson position, Raila’s announcement of President Suluhu’s support signals a significant development in his campaign.

While President Suluhu has not publicly confirmed her endorsement of Raila, he underscored his momentum by highlighting support from other African leaders, including South African President Cyril Ramaphosa, South Sudan’s Salva Kiir, and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Felix Tshisekedi.

Raila expressed his determination to secure votes from across the East African Community, emphasizing his willingness to accept defeat gracefully if he is unsuccessful in his AU bid. He noted agreements of support from Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto.

The opposition leader’s campaign efforts have been further bolstered by President Ruto’s administration, which is mobilizing support for Raila’s AU bid. Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi, appointed to lead Raila’s campaign team, engaged in discussions with former Foreign Affairs Cabinet Secretary Amina Mohammed, who previously vied for the AU chairmanship in 2017.

Amina Mohammed’s meeting with Mudavadi signals a strategic collaboration within Raila’s campaign team as they seek to strengthen his candidacy. Kenya’s previous endorsement of Amina for the AU position underscores the nation’s continued interest in securing leadership roles within the continental body.

Raila’s pursuit of the AU chairmanship represents a significant diplomatic endeavor, with the backing of regional and continental leaders indicating growing support for his candidacy.

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