It is not in question that President Uhuru Kenyatta has thrown his weight behind Raila Odinga’s 2022 bid. However, it is the confidence of other African Heads of State in the ODM leader which seems to have put him inches above other presidential aspirants seeking the same seat next year.
Here is a compilation of African presidents backing AU High Representative for Infrastructure for Kenyan presidency next year:
President Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa
The South African president and Mr. Odinga have been long-time friends for years. Their close relationship came to the limelight after the 2007/08 post-election violence when the South African leader was proposed to mediate the Kenyan stalemate. Mwai Kibaki and his Party of National Unity openly rejected Mr. Ramaphosa, citing his close ties with Raila.
President Felix Tshisekedi, DRC
Their relationship was first brought to the fore in March 2019, when Raila and the DR Congo president met in Nairobi while on an official visit. Tshisekedi had just taken over from Joseph Kabila after 18 years at the helm. Coincidentally, only Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta attended his inauguration in which most African heads of government boycotted.
President Hakainde Hichilema, Zambia
When the five-time detainee clinched the Zambian presidency in August, the ODM leader described him as an astute leader and a friend with the interests of his people at heart. This was the first time Kenyans knew of the relationship between the two leaders. On August 24th, Mr. Odinga and President Hachilema met in Lusaka, Zambia during the official swearing-in of the new Zambian head of state.
President Samial Suluhu, Tanzania
President Samia Suluhu grew close to Raila Odinga during the first term of the late Tanzanian leader John Pombe Maghufuli who was a very close associate and personal friend of the former PM for years. After the death of Dr. Magufuli last year, President Samia Suluhu decided to keep the Magufuli international networks to help her play international politics, given her most unique role – being the first female Head of State in East Africa.
President Nana Akuffo, Ghana
While congratulating President Akuffo for his second term victory last year, Ruth Odinga, Raila’s younger sister revealed the two families have shared strong ties tracing back to the olden days when Jaramogi Odinga was the first Vice President. Some of Jaramogi’s daughters are married in Ghana.