Mnangagwa backs Kenya’s bid for AU chairperson; in return Zim gets Commonwealth support

Mnangagwa backs Kenya’s bid for AU chairperson; in return Zim gets Commonwealth support

By Agencies

Zimbabwe has endorsed former Kenyan prime minister Raila Odinga’s bid for the African Union Commission (AUC) chairperson role, a diplomatic manoeuvre facilitated by Kenya’s President William Ruto during a two-day state visit to the southern African country.

Speaking during a ceremony at State House in Zimbabwe’s second city of Bulawayo on Saturday, Ruto said he had secured President Emmerson Mnangagwa’ support for Odinga’s bid for the AU Commission chairperson position that is due to fall vacant next year.

“Kenya and Zimbabwe will persist in conferring and backing each other on multitude issues of bilateral, regional and continental significance, alongside the African Union Agenda 2063,” Ruto said.

The AUC chairperson position is set to become vacant next year, with the incumbent, Chad’s Moussa Faki, concluding his two-term tenure.

The chairperson serves as the chief executive officer and legal representative of the AU, overseeing administrative and financial matters, promoting the AU’s objectives and engaging with stakeholders.

Ruto declared Kenya’s “unreserved support” for Zimbabwe’s application for readmission to the Commonwealth and the lifting of Western sanctions against the southern African country.

Ruto spoke as representatives of the Zimbabwe and Kenyan governments signed nine memoranda of understanding covering sectors such as defence, education, health, infrastructure, investment, trade and transport.

The Kenyan leader is on a two-day state visit during which he also officially opened the 2024 edition of the Zimbabwe International Trade Fair in Bulawayo on Saturday.