UN Secretary-General António Guterres is believed to have sent former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo to Kenya to ease political tensions.
Sources in diplomatic circles told Star newspaper that Guterres believes Obasanjo is respected by President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga.
According to the same sources, Obasanjo’s mission is to dissuade Raila from pursuing its planned swearing-up plan on January 30. The efforts of US Ambassador Robert Godec do not seem to be bearing fruit.
The latter was in the country Wednesday night to begin negotiations between Uhuru and Raila. On Thursday, he met Raila and other NASA leaders and tried to persuade them to abandon the idea of an inauguration ceremony. The UN recognizes the legitimacy of the Uhuru government and seeks to prevent any move that would lead to a political crisis in Kenya.
Obasanjo and Raila have been close friends for two decades, which is why the UN chose him as a mediator. He is also a member of the United Nations High Level Advisory Council on Mediation. This Council of 18 eminent personalities is responsible for providing advice to Gutteres on mediation initiatives and supporting specific mediation efforts around the world.
Obasanjo led the Republic of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007, after serving as Chief of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces from 1976 to 1979. During his reign, he participated in numerous international mediation efforts, notably in Angola, Burundi, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa.
In 2008, he was appointed Special Envoy of the United Nations Secretary-General for the Great Lakes Region.
On September 13, he was appointed a member of the High Level Advisory Council on Mediation.