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Ruto, Raila hold meeting with Museveni in Uganda

President Ruto disclosed that they discussed the declared candidacy of Kenya's former Prime Minister Raila Odinga for the Africa Union Commission chairmanship.

President William Ruto and Azimio la Umoja One Kenya coalition leader Raila Odinga made a trip to Uganda on Monday to meet President Yoweri Museveni.

President Ruto indicated that the meeting had been organized to deliberate pertinent issues touching on the two countries such as energy and petroleum, but also disclosed that Raila’s bid to become the next African Union Commission chairperson shaped Monday’s talks at Museveni’s famous Kisozi country home.

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“(We) also discussed the declared candidacy of Kenya’s former Prime Minister Raila Odinga for the Africa Union Commission chairmanship,” said the President in a post after the meeting.

Raila too indicated that the meeting at Museveni’s “wonderous cattle farm” was aimed at discussing the deepening of regional integration within the East African Community, but quickly pointed out that his candidature for AUC top job dominated the deliberations, and confirmed that, indeed, the Ugandan leader is strongly in support of his bid.

He expressed gratitude to President Ruto “for fully backing” his continental aspirations.

“Crucially, at the urging of President Museveni, we also discussed my candidacy for Chairperson of the African Union Commission. I am very grateful to President Museveni for strongly endorsing my candidacy,” said the opposition leader

Soon after Mr. Odinga expressed interest in the seat, high-ranking members of President Ruto’s administration promised to go all out to help the former premier clinch the post to be left vacant by outgoing chair Moussa Faki.

In what appears the beginning of shuttle diplomacy to popularize Raila’s candidature, President Ruto indicated that he, alongside his counterparts in the region, is pushing to deepen ties that include “bringing all the seven East African Community nations closer in their ultimate goal to form the East African Political Federation.”

The continental charm offensive is gathering momentum with President William Ruto set to host Ethiopia Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed at Statehouse, Nairobi on Tuesday.

Ruto and Raila faced off in a tight presidential election in August 2022, with the former trouncing the latter in the race to be Kenya’s fifth head of state.

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