Competition Intensifies in AUC Chairperson Race with Djibouti’s Third Nominee

he competition for the next chairperson of the African Union Commission (AUC) from the Eastern Africa region is becoming more intense with the emergence of a third candidate. Djibouti announced their nominee, Mahmoud Youssouf, their Minister of Foreign Affairs, asserting his qualifications for the position. With over twenty years of experience in diplomacy and conflict resolution, Djibouti believes Youssouf is well-suited for the role.

Youssouf’s candidacy poses a challenge to Kenya’s Raila Odinga, who was previously considered a frontrunner. Odinga may now require additional support from African leaders to bolster his chances. Alongside Youssouf and Odinga, Somalia’s Fawzia Yusuf is also competing for the position.

The AU Executive Council recently ratified a decision to have Eastern Africa nominate the next chairperson, with the Deputy Chairperson to be elected from Northern Africa. The election for the new AUC chairperson is scheduled for 2025, as Chad’s Moussa Faki, the current chairperson, completes his two-term tenure.

Odinga has garnered endorsements from several African heads of state, including Kenya’s William Ruto, Rwanda’s Paul Kagame, and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni. Odinga has also mentioned receiving support from other leaders, such as Tanzania’s President Samia Suluhu Hassan, South Sudan’s Salva Kiir, South Africa’s Cyril Ramaphosa, and the Democratic Republic of Congo’s Félix Tshisekedi.

Ghanaian President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo has also voiced his endorsement for Odinga, adding to the momentum of his campaign.

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