Raila Odinga was born, in Maseno, Kisumu District, Nyanza Province in 1945 to the late Mary Ajuma Odinga and the late Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, the first Vice President of the Republic of Kenya.
He was born into political royalty, a member of Kenya’s western Luo tribe. He entered parliament in 1992 during the rule of President Daniel Arap Moi and after spending much of the previous decade jailed or in exile during the struggle for democracy. Odinga vied for the presidency in 1997, two thousand and seven, and 2013.
He studied engineering in communist East Germany, and he named his eldest son Fidel, who died in 2015, after the Cuban revolutionary.
Because of his time in East Germany, he has been labeled as social and communist. However, his ardent supporters claim the “socialist” and “communist” labels he was given were more an attempt to discredit him by the Moi regime than an accurate reflection of his leanings.
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After returning to Kenya in 1970 Odinga set up as a businessman before following his father into politics. In a recent televised interview, he described himself as a social democrat who wanted to fight inequality.
Odinga was raised as an Anglican and later converted to evangelicalism. He was baptized in a Nairobi swimming spot by a self-proclaimed mightiest prophet Owour in 2009.
His early schooling was at Maranda Primary and Maranda High School until 1962.
Raila Amolo Odinga left the country for the Herder Institut, a part of the philological faculty at the University of Leipzig in East Germany. In 1965, his father sent him to the Technical School, Magdeburg (now a part of Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg) in the GDR.
In 1970, he graduated with an MSc (Masters of Science) in Mechanical Engineering. Raila flew back to Kenya in 1970. The following year he started the normal estimation Equipment Construction and Erection Limited (later renamed East African Spectre), a company specializing in the manufacturing of liquid petroleum gas cylinders.
In 1974, he was named community standards manager of the Kenya Bureau of Standards. In 1978 he was promoted to its Deputy Director, a post he held until his 1982 detention. Raila Odinga is married to Ida Odinga with whom they have four children; the late Fidel Castro, Rosemary, Raila Junior, and Winnie. Raila Odinga home Raila Odinga youth Raila Odinga married Ida Oyoo on September 1st, 1973.
Together they have four children, the late Fidel Castro (2015), Rosemary Akeyo, Raila junior, and Winnie Irmgard. Fidel Odinga Until his demise, Fidel Odinga was a businesswoman and a formidable pillar in his father’s cultural endeavors.
He is survived by his widow, Liam Odinga, and their son, Allay Raila Odinga. Rosemary Odinga is a diligent educationist and serves as the Director of the Raila Odinga Center. This institution strives at enhancing education standards across the country with its main program operating out of Kibera slums in Nairobi.
Rosemary Odinga has interests in snail farming and is a mother to two beautiful girls, Saphie and Sanayi.
Raila Odinga Jr, his father’s namesake, is a businesswoman with varied interests from energy to entertainment. He is married to Yvonne Kibukosya. Winnie Odinga, the favorite, is the supervisor of fresh Outreach Foundation Africa, an initiative centered around renewable energy to meet the emerging demands of the modern-day world. She is also a professional photographer.
In 1982, Raila Odinga was confined under the house for seven months by the President, dictator, Daniel Moi. This marked the beginning of his many battles with Moi. Raila was indicted with sedition following his unrelenting crusade for wider democratic space and got detained without trial for six years.
His mother died in 1984, but it took the prison wardens six months to inform him of her passing, an experience he openly confesses was very traumatizing in his hitherto eventful life.
He was released on 6 February 1988. He was again rearrested in September, the same year for his involvement with human rights and pro-democracy activists pressing for multi-party democracy in Kenya, which was then a one-party state. The Moi administration released him on twelve June 1989. He was again to be rearrested and incarcerated on the 5thof July 1990, together with Kenneth Matiba, and previous Nairobi Mayor Charles Rubia.
Raila was released on 21 June 1991, and in October, he fled the country for Norway. He claimed that the Kenyan government had plans to assassinate him.
While he was in Norway, the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD), a movement formed to agitate for the return of multi-party democracy to Kenya, was formed. In February 1992, Raila joined FORD, then led by his father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.
He was elected Vice-Chairman of the General Purposes Committee of the party. A few months to the 1992 election, the system orchestrated the split of FORD. One faction, Ford Kenya, was led by Raila’s father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, and FORD-Asili led by Kenneth Matiba. Raila became Ford-Kenya’s spokesman and Director of Elections.
Raila won the Langata Constituency parliamentary seat, previously held by Philip Leakey of KANU. When Jaramogi Oginga Odinga passed on in January 1994, and Michael Wamalwa Kijana succeeded him as FORD-Kenya chairman, Raila challenged him for the party”s leadership.
The decision was bitterly controversial Raila quit FORD-Kenya and formed National Development Party (NDP). In 1997 Elections, Raila threw his hat into the Presidential race. In his first attempt, he was third after President Moi, the incumbent, and Democratic group candidate Mwai Kibaki.
He retained his position as the Langata MP. After the election, Raila reconciled the Moi and his government. This led to a partnership between Moi’s KANU party and his NDP party. He was in Moi’ s Cabinet as Energy Minister from June 2001 to 2002, during Moi’s final term. In the subsequent KANU elections held later that year, he was elected the party’s secretary-general (replacing the late J. J. Kamotho).
In 2002, the then President, Daniel Arap Moi, sprung a surprise by endorsing Uhuru Kenyatta, a son of Kenya’s first president Jomo Kenyatta to be his successor.
Moi publicly asked Raila and others to support Uhuru as well. Raila and other KANU members, who included his recent running mate in the CORD Coalition Kalonzo Musyoka, the late George Saitoti, and the late Joseph Kamotho, rebelled against Moi. They argued that the then thirty-eight year obsolete Uhuru, was politically inexperienced and lacked the leadership qualities needed to lead Kenya.
The Rainbow Movement went in to team up with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which later teamed up with Mwai Kibaki’s National Alliance Party of Kenya (NAK), a coalition of several other parties, to form the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) that eventually defeated Moi’s protege, Uhuru Kenyatta in 2002.
Raila took over as the father of multi-company democracy in Kenya after Kenneth Matiba. It was at this time in his career that he reaped his nickname,“ Agwambo”, the meaning of which is Mysterious One, or “Jakob”, meaning Chairman.
President Kibaki failed to honor a pre-election agreement regarding political equity among the stakeholders in NARC and a pledge made to the Kenyan people to review the Kenyan Constitution within a hundred days of the election.
The treachery led to a revolt and a split within the cabinet. This culminated in disagreements over a proposed new constitution for the new Kenya.
The Kibaki administration-backed review committee submitted a law constitution that was perceived to consolidate powers of the presidency and weaken informal governments as had been agreed under an earlier draft before the 2002 Elections.
Raila stood his ground on this, and when the government side-draft was put to test in a referendum on the 21st of November 2005, the government lost by a 57% to 43% margin. After the debacle, President Kibaki sacked the whole cabinet on November 23, 2005.
When the cabinet was formed two weeks later, Raila and the whole LDP group kicked out. This led to the formation of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) – an Orange was the symbol for the “no” vote in the constitutional referendum.
In the hotly contested 2007 elections, (ODM) was led by Raila, and the ODM-K, was headed by Kalonzo Musyoka. On one September 2007, the ODM endorsed Odinga as its presidential nominee in a Delegates Conference held at the Moi International Sports Centre in Nairobi.
Odinga won the contest by 2,656 votes. He was challenged in the nomination by Musalia Mudavadi garnered 391 votes and William Ruto with 368. Najib Balala, the coastal representative had earlier vacated his candidature and endorsed Raila.
Odinga began his presidential campaigns in Uhuru Park in Nairobi on October 6, 2007. There was a record attendance in this rally in the venue than any other rally in independent Kenya. The police estimated the attendance to be over 250,000.
The defeated candidates expressed their support for Odinga afterward, and Mudavadi was named as his running mate. Odinga began his presidential campaigns in Uhuru Park in Nairobi on the 6th of October 2007.
In the election held later that year, the Electoral Commission declared Kibaki the winner on thirty December 2007, placing him ahead of Odinga by about 232,000 votes.
In the run-up to the elections, Odinga and others have warned that their supporters would have no alternative but take to the streets if the year’s vote was stolen and suggested that anything short of an Odinga victory would be proof of rigging.
Several political commentators concurred with Odinga’s view that the 2007 election was stolen from him. This triggered widespread politically-motivated tribal violence which left more than 1,100 dead
Raila disputed the results, alleging fraud by the election commission and informed his supporter that he would not present a petition before the courts. Most polls had concluded that Odinga would defeat president Kibaki. The verdict by international observers was that the polls were marred by irregularities favoring both PNU and ODM, especially during final vote tallying stages.
Raila and his ODM mobilized against the decision with James Orengo and Prof. Anyang ’ Nyong’o calling for mass action. Violence broke out in the country after this. Vicious incidents of police brutality we’re witnessed and scores were maimed and killed.
In a January two thousand and eight BBC interview, Odinga alleged that he was the first cousin of U.S. President Barack Obama through Obama’s father. However, Barack Obama’s paternal uncle rejected any immediate relationship to Odinga, stating “Odinga’s mother came from the same area, so it is normal for us to talk about cousins. But he is not a blood relative. ” Obama’s father came from the same Luo community as Odinga.
There were two months of unrest. The International community intervened and enforced a peace deal between Odinga and Kibaki. The deal provided for power-sharing and the creation of the powerful post of Prime Minister, was signed in February 2008; it was brokered by previous UN secretary common Kofi Annan.
Odinga was sworn in as Prime Minister, along with the power-sharing Cabinet, in April 2008. The post of Prime Minister was last held by Jomo Kenyatta between 1963 and 1964 following independence.
He held the post until 2013 w he lost the presidential election to Kenyatta. The strife of two thousand and seven looms over Kenya’s politics a decade on. It fueled the smoldering fire of matrilineal resentment, with many Luos believing they — through Odinga — are being denied political power by a cabal of Kikuyu elites currently led by Kenyatta.
In the 2013 Presidential contest, Raila Odinga’s party Democratic Movement (ODM) combined forces with Kalonzo Musyoka’s Wiper Party and Moses Wetangula’s Ford Kenya (FK). They christened the formation as the CORD coalition (Coalition for Reforms and Democracy). They named Raila as their Presidential candidate.
The Kenyatta vs. Odinga battle was set to be the last in a generational political rivalry between the two families that began when Jaramogi Odinga lost out to Jomo Kenyatta, Kenya’s first post-independence leader.
Raila flew the Presidential flag for the 4th March 2013 contest. He garnered 5,340,546 votes (43.70%) out of the 12,221,053 cast in the election Uhuru Kenyatta garnered 6,173,433 votes (50.51%).
As this was above the 50% plus 1 vote threshold, Uhuru won it on the first round without requiring a run-off between the top two candidates. The (IEBC) therefore officially endorsed Uhuru Kenyatta the President-elect on Saturday 9th of March at 2:44 pm.
By that proclamation, Uhuru Kenyatta became, Kenya’ s 4th president. However, shortly after the election, Raila Odinga in a presser declared that the election had been marked by massive failures by the BVR kits, EVID (electronic voter identification or “Pollbooks”), RTS (results transmission system or tabulate system”) and the RPS effect presentation or “transmissions system”).
He stated that the manual tallying was suspect leaving him no choice but to contest the result in Kenya’s highest court, The Supreme Court. Raila Odinga and his counsel George Ororo, Mutula Kilonzo, and James Orengo, secretly instructed Raj Pal Senna, a Management Consultant from Barcelona to carry out a forensic investigation of the technology used in the 2013 Kenyan General Election.
Raj friend Senna involved in this work a legal analysis l of the evidence of IEBC and Uhuru Kenyatta in relation to the technology deployed during the Kenyan Presidential Elections. Raila Odinga and his solicitor then undertook lawful legal steps to verify the findings of Raj Pal Senna by consulting authorities in the USA and the UK.
Dr. Willy Mutunga announced on Monday, 11 March that the Supreme Court would deliver its judgment within 14 days as stipulated by the Constitution of Kenya.
During the plea hearing, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga rejected a 900-page affidavit by the Raila Odinga team. The court pronounced itself on the matter saying it had been filed late which is not allowed under the constitution.
The Mutunga led court dismissed the petition on the 30th of March 2013. The Supreme law while ruling in favor ordered that the IEBC should not have included the faulty /spoilt choice in the calculation of the last figures and percentages.
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga also directed that the EACC (Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission) and the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) carry out a criminal investigation of the IEBC in relation to the BVR, EVID, RTS, and RPS.
In 2017, Raila was declared standard-bearer of the National Super Alliance coalition. The coalition overcame traditional opposition divisions in an attempt to defeat incumbent President Uhuru Kenyatta, 55, and his ruling Jubilee Party in the August poll.
Raila Odinga now serves the Republic of Kenya as the Leader of the Official Opposition keen to ensure the full and proper implementation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, the promotion of democratic ideals, and the protection of equity & justice in our society.
Raila Odinga is a tenacious, veteran politician at an age when most would be retired. The veteran opposition leader is poised to run again for the presidency in 2022. This would be his fourth bid to become head of Kenya
The 72-year-old has been a mainstay of Kenyan politics since the 1980s but has never achieved his presidential ambition. His career emulates that of his father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, who led the opposition for three decades but never led the country.
He seems to have lost a bit of his rallying skills with some attributing the change to ill-health and advancing years. When he has notes in his hand he often labors and hobbies with his words, especially in English. But when he speaks off-the-cuff and in his native Swahili he still has the ability to inspire.