Raila Amolo Odinga


January 7, 1945




Politician, Engineer


Son of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. Married to Ida Oyoo Odinga. They have four children.


Education background: Early schooling at Kisumu Union Primary, then later Maranda High School for secondary education. Dropped out in 1962 and travelled to then East Germany where he was admitted at the Herder Institution. In 1965, Odinga was awarded a scholarship at the Technical School, Magdeburg, which is part of the philological faculty at the University of Leipzig in East Germany. He graduated with a Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering in 1970.

Mr Odinga, who served as Prime Minister between 2008 and 2013, returned to Kenya after completing his studies and established Standard Processing Equipment Construction and Erection Limited (later renamed East African Spectre), a company that specialises in the manufacturing of liquid petroleum gas cylinders. 

He had his first stint in public service in 1974 when he was appointed Group Standards Manager at the Kenya Bureau of Standards (KeBS) and promoted to the position of Deputy Director in 1978 until 1982 when he was detained because of his political activity. He was placed under house arrest for 7 months by the regime of former President Daniel Moi. He was later charged with treason, but was instead detained without trial for six years. During his time in detention, his mother died in 1984.

Mr Moi ordered his release on February 6, 1988, but he was re-arrested in September the same year and was once again detained. He was released on June 12, 1989, only to be incarcerated again on July 5, 1990, this time with Mr Kenneth Matiba and Mr Charles Rubia during the agitation for multi-party democracy. He was released on June 21, 1991, but fled the country for Norway the following November amid fears of another arrest.

He returned to Kenya in February 1992, and joined Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (Ford) -- where he was elected vice Chairman of the General Purposes Committee of the party. He was elected Lang'ata MP in 1992 on a Ford Kenya ticket. When his father, Mr Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, died in January 1994, he challenged Mr Michael Wamalwa Kijana as the chair of the party but lost. He resigned from Ford-Kenya to join the National Development Party (NDP).

He contested the presidency in 1997 and finished third but retained his position as Lang'ata MP. After the election, he led a merger between his party, NDP, and Mr Moi’s Kanu party. He served in Moi’s Cabinet as Energy Minister from June 2001 to 2002. In the subsequent Kanu elections, he was elected the party’s secretary-general as part of the power sharing deal of the merger.

In 2002, Mr Odinga fell out with Mr Moi after he endorsed Mr Uhuru Kenyatta as his successor. Mr Odinga and other Kanu members, including Kalonzo Musyoka, the late George Saitoti and the late Joseph Kamotho, opposed this step arguing that the then 38-year-old Mr Kenyatta was politically inexperienced and lacked the leadership qualities required to govern.

They joined the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which later teamed up with Mr 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 Mr Kenyatta in the 2002 poll.

He later fell out with Mr Kibaki and contested the presidential election in 2007 that was marred by Kenya's deadliest post-poll violence. He was named Prime Minister in the subsequent grand coalition that was formed after the peace talks mediated by late former United Nations Secretary-General Kofi Anan.

He also lost the 2013 presidential election to Mr Kenyatta. After the Supreme Court nullified the poll results, he boycotted the repeat election held on October 2017. 

He ran for president again in 2022 but lost to William Ruto. Dr Ruto garnered 50.49 percent of the vote against Raila Odinga's 48.85 percent. Mr Odinga challenged the results at the Supreme Court. However, the seven-judge bench upheld Dr Ruto's win. The court said it found no evidence of hacking and that no evidence was produced to show that Mr Chebukati and other IEBC staff were involved. 

Latest articles on Raila Amolo Odinga:

  1. Raila meets MPs as Kenya Kwanza now moves to save talks

    The Raila-led coalition suspended the bipartisan talks as it demanded immediate government action on four issues.

    Raila Odinga
  2. Luo elders faction now rejects plan to elect new chairman

    The Ongadi faction, associated with President Ruto, wants the planned elections for Ker called off.

    Nyandiko Ongadi
  3. Housing levy unstoppable, Ruto tells Raila

    Omtatah claims the housing levy violates Constitution and warns that he will file a petition in court to challenge the Bill.

    Ruto in Busia
  4. Kenya Kwanza lawmakers vow to pass Finance Bill

    The Bill's consideration will give President Ruto an opportunity to prove he has control over Parliament.

    A session ongoing at the National Assembly Chambers, Parliament Buildings
  5. Parallel Madaraka, fresh demos as Azimio plots faceoff

    Former President Uhuru Kenyatta sharply in focus as he is expected to play key role in opposition messaging.

    Raila and Uhuru
  6. Raila Odinga to Kenyans: 'This is not about me'

    Opposition leader asks President Ruto to prepare for a battle never witnessed before.

    President William Ruto and Azimio leader Raila Odinga.
  7. Syengo’s proposal to increase number of nominated MPs gathers steam in Senate

    Attempts to increase women representation in the National Assembly, Senate and county assemblies have always hit brick wall.

    Nominated Senator Beth Syengo and Narok Woman Representative Rebecca Tonkei
  8. Raila's moment of truth

    The opposition chief starts a five-day countdown to deadline issued to Ruto on bipartisan talks.

    Raila Odinga in Kisumu
  9. Raila: Next Luo ker to be unveiled next month

    The successor will take over from the late Ker Otondi who died after a long illness in March.

    Azimio la Umoja leader Raila Odinga (C) after a meeting with Luo Council of Elders at Mama Grace Onyango Social Hall
  10. Talks team to start tackling ‘critical and urgent’ IEBC issues

    Sub-committee expected to present its report today for further discussion by 14-member team.

    A section of the bipartisan talks committee
  11. Jubilee kicks out 'rebels' Sabina Chege, Kanini Kega

    The NDC gave ex-President Kenyatta an opportunity to stamp his authority in the party.

    Jubilee leader Uhuru Kenyatta
  12. Court suspends Shakahola commission

    Shakahola Commission suspended for 7 days pending ruling on Azimio suit.

    Commission of inquiry
  13. Raila accuses Ruto of illegal Jubilee take-over plan

    He said the onslaught on Jubilee is against the spirit of multi-party democracy.

    Raila Odinga
  14. Azimio plot to tame rebel MPs

    Senate Minority Whip and his deputy say rebels will be removed from committees.

  15. Raila to mobilise Kenyans to reject Finance Bill

    He urged Kenyans to lobby their elected leaders in Parliament to reject the Bill.

    Raila Odinga
  16. Miguna heckled at funeral over Raila comments

    Miguna surrendered the microphone when the crowd in Homa Bay began jeering him.

    Miguna Miguna
  17. Ruto, Raila big clash at Mukami Kimathi funeral

    The two traded barbs over the high cost of living, opposition-led demonstration, Kenya’s debt burden and proposed taxes in the Finance Bill 2023.

    President William Ruto shakes hands with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Saturday, May 13, 2023.
  18. Mary Moraa wows Ruto, Raila in stunning 800m victory

    Defending champion Prudence Sekgodiso from South Africa finished fifth in 2:01.19.

  19. Your people are lying to you, Raila tells Ruto

    Former PM Raila Odinga has faulted the government for failing to fly the national flag at half-mast in honour of Mukami.

    President William Ruto shakes hands with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga on Saturday, May 13, 2023.


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