Members of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party have dismissed calls from a section of leaders asking Raila Odinga to retire from local politics.

This comes after local MPs on Sunday claimed that the former Prime Minister’s appointment to the African Union (AU) will derail his quest for the presidency in 2022.

“The kind of job Raila has been given in South Africa doesn’t allow him to participate in politics, he should leave politics to us,” said Kimilili MP Didmus Barasa, who was among the MPs speaking at a fundraising event in Kesses Constituency, Uasin Gishu County on Sunday.

But in a rejoinder, Siaya Senator James Orengo said: “That appointment would not lead to Raila’s retirement from the politics scene.”

He added: “People think that there’s gonna be a space, and the job is gonna be easier for them to rise to the presidency with Raila out of the seat.”

While National Assembly Minority Whip Junet Mohamed also dismissed the claims, terming them “Raila Phobia.”

The outspoken Junet further cited former AU chair Dlamini-Zuma, who served the AU for five years and was at the same time a key political figure in South Africa’s ANC Party, where she was nominated for presidency and lost to Cyril Ramaphosa by a whisker.

“There’s no higher calling than to your country,” said Junet Mohamed.

“It is up to the Kenyan people, and the people who believe in the leadership of Raila, to decide whether they still want him to lead them or not.”

Raila Odinga has been tasked with mediating in peace negotiations and conflict resolutions across the continent as he seeks to steer economic development.

He will have offices in Nairobi, Addis Ababa Ethiopia, South Africa, Nigeria, and Egypt.