Former Somali Foreign Affairs Minister to Oppose Raila for African Union top Post


Somalia has fronted former Deputy Prime Minister Fawzia Adam for the African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson role, posing a direct challenge to Kenya’s long-serving opposition leader Raila Odinga.

Fawzia confirmed to a local daily that she would be vying to succeed Moussa Faki at AUC as his term draws to a close.

The first female Foreign Minister in Somalia said her bid has the blessing of President Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, who is expected to lead the lobbying efforts.

Somalia’s government spokesman Daudi Aweis had earlier praised Fawzia’s successes as minister, saying she had the full support of Mohamud’s administration.

“Following key diplomatic achievements such as lifting the arms embargo, debt relief, and joining the EAC, Somalia is now well-placed to play a major role in the world,” Aweis said, adding that the county would endorse “Veteran diplomat Fawzia Yusuf Adam as our nominee for the top position at the AU.”

Fawzia served as Minister of Foreign Affairs and Deputy Prime Minister of Somalia from November 4, 2012 to January 17, 2014.

She is currently serving as a member of parliament in Somalia and leader of the National Democratic Alliance party.

Her entry into the race complicates matters for Raila who hoped to secure endorsement from all the states in the East African region.

Earlier, Raila said he had received endorsement from Kenya’s President William Ruto, Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, Samia Suluhu of Tanzania and South Sudan’s Salva Kiir.

He also revealed plans to seek Rwandan President Paul Kagame’s support for his bid for the continental job next week before heading to South Africa for a similar campaign.

Raila, widely recognized as a champion of democracy and pan-Africanism, formally declared his bid to succeed Faki as AUC chair on February 15.

The ODM party leader said he was ready to serve in that position, having previously held the position of AU High Representative for Infrastructure.

“Serving as the AU High Representative for Infrastructure gave me the advantage of learning about each African country. I believe by working together, we can emancipate Africa,” Raila said.

Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo, who attended the press conference, was the first leader to publicly throw his weight behind Raila’s candidature.

“I have no doubt that my friend (Raila) is a viable candidate but subject to views, feelings, positions and presentations of our leaders in the East Africa sub-region,” Obasanjo stated.

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