While blaming President Ruto, Raila Odinga claimed on Tuesday night that it was President Ruto who had asked the chairperson of the African Union Commission Moussa Faki to sack him as the African Union’s High Representative for Infrastructure Development.
Speaking on KTN News, the Azimio la Umoja-One Kenya leader said President Ruto made the request when he attended the 36th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of the African Union (AU) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia on February 17.
On February 23, Faki announced that Odinga’s tenure as AU’s special envoy had ended after nearly five years without outrightly saying that he had been sacked. On their part, the AU thanked Mr Odinga for his service.
In a quicker rejoinder, a few hours later, Mr Odinga claimed that he had asked to be excused from his role as AU’s High Representative for Infrastructure, citing pressing national needs.
Mr Odinga said he notified Faki about his intention to vacate the office earlier than February 23, when the letter of the discontinuation of his role was shared with the public.
“I did not lose the AU job. I had already indicated to Mr Faki that I was going to request to be relieved of the position because I had done my best, but there was a demand for my time back home,”
Odinga said on KTN News on Tuesday, February 28.
The Azimio leader also addressed reports that President Ruto instigated his removal.
“They have said that when President Ruto went to Addis Ababa, Ethiopia [on February 17], he had a meeting with Mr Faki, and asked him to remove me from the role… that is not in doubt, but Faki told him I had, myself, requested to be relieved of my duties,”
The former Prime Minister said he “doesn’t know” if Faki would have heeded the president’s request, were it not for his (Odinga’s) already-submitted request to vacate office.
“I don’t know if Faki would have agreed [to sack me as requested by President Ruto],”
Odinga said it was a coincidence that changes at the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) were happening at a time when he had shown interest to exit.
“What was happening is that AU had NEPAD as an organisation that was created for the implementation of projects in Africa. It was now being converted to African Union Development Agency, now called AUDA-NEPAD, with plans to get rid of NEPAD eventually,”
Reacting to Odinga’s exit from the AU job, Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua said on February 24 in Mombasa hinted at Odinga’s firing claiming that “perennial demonstrations had cost the Azimio leader his job”.
“These incessant protests have really cost the old man. He had a big job at African Union, but he left the job behind and returned to Kenya to demonstrate. He’s now been sent packing by AU. Isn’t that a major loss on his side?”
Gachagua posed during the launch of Taifa Gas plant in Dongo Kundu.
“He has been demonstrating for more than 20 years, and each year, he loses big time. AU told him that he wasn’t available when he was needed, and as a result, they had no choice but to relieve him of his duties,”