The new role has elevated Odinga above local politics to a continental statesman, joining accomplished Pan-Africanists, former presidents and senior statesmen in service of the continent.
However, the former premier risks being sidelined on local issues as his time will now be spent on new assignments with frequent travels across the continent from his office in Addis Ababa.
Once out of touch with local issues and politics, analyst opine that Odinga may have no option but to hang his boots.
Retirement from local politics
While analyst opine that the appointment is a way of making the former Prime Minister exit local politics with dignity after four unsuccessful attempts at the presidency, Odinga has already emerged as a force to reckon with in the 2022 elections.
The building bridges initiative and the calls for a referendum will most likely still keep him in touch with local politics.
With his massive following, Odinga still remains a key player in the 2022 succession race.
The role also opens new doors to Odinga who is a trained engineer by profession and the new role perfectly fits.
It is in acknowledgement of this that AU chair Mahamat Faki Moussa brought him on board owing to his rich political experience and strong commitment to the ideals of Pan-Africanism and African integration, as well as a deep knowledge of infrastructure development.”
However, Odinga is best known for his role in championing for democracy and good governance.
Speaking on Odinga’s appointment, President Kenyatta said that “Raila will work closely with my government to ensure he allocates more resources to Kenya to fast track infrastructural development so as to make Vision 2030 a reality. We have made history as a country and with the handshake deal in place, Kenya stands to achieve more.”
The NASA leader is expected to have an office in Nairobi from where his mediation in peace negotiations and conflict resolution activities will be coordinated with staff and advisers to boost his local presence and unity programmes with President Uhuru Kenyatta.
The new role also comes with an office in Addis Ababa and a team of advisors and staff. It is from this office that Odinga will discharge his responsibility of “mobilising further political support from Member States and the Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and facilitating greater ownership by all concerned stakeholders on the continent”.