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. 

Latest articles on Raila Amolo Odinga:

  1. Munyori Buku: Bell tolls for Raila’s career as noise in ODM grows louder

    Mr Odinga cannot continue acting like Kenya owes him anything more than the opportunity to offer himself for public office.

    Azimio la Umoja One Kenya leader Raila Odinga.
  2. Missed goal: Of Raila, football metaphors and the presidential election

    One of the showstoppers was Mr Wetangula’s deadly volley of 255,906 votes (63.16 per cent) from Bungoma County.

    Former Prime Minister of Kenya Raila Odinga.
  3. Kidero slams ODM leaders, invites disgruntled members to join him

    ODM has been embroiled in leadership wrangles as legislators, including its chairman John Mbadi, Ugunja MP Opiyo Wandayi and others fight to control key positions in Parliament.

  4. Kikuyu elders vow to help unite the country after divisive polls

    On Friday, the council's national patron, retired Captain Kung’u Muigai, convened a prayer event at the Kikuyu prayer shrine.

    Kikuyu council elders
  5. Martha Karua marks 65th birthday in style

    The birthday ceremony saw top Azimio la Umoja coalition politicians come together to make merry.

    Martha Karua birthday
  6. How Raila lost presidential polls

    Mr Odinga and his supporters thought he would win it this time round, but inability to get over a number of hurdles saw him lose, again.

    Raila Odinga
  7. Raila man carries the day in Kisumu after brief scare

    Almost half of the newly elected members of the Kisumu County Assembly boycotted a meeting attended by Mr Odinga.

    Elisha Jack Oraro
  8. How Legio Maria church decided to build own hospital

    The idea was inspired by the hospitalisation of Pope Raphael Otieno Adika at M.P. Shah Hospital in Nairobi.

  9. UhuRuto spent Sh579 million on travel three months to polls

    The increased travel spending came amid an austerity plan to free up cash for development and essential services such as health and education.

    President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto
  10. UDM protests Registrar’s move linking it to Azimio

    The 11 legislators including party leader Ali Roba have taken issue with a letter informing Parliament that UDM is in Azimio.

    Registrar of Political Parties Ann Nderitu
  11. After bruising defeat, Raila re-emerges to face political foes

    Raila's initial silence had left some thinking he was ready to hang up his political boots.

  12. Nomination shortlist for special interest groups sparks protest

    The nominated members include three women on the gender top-up list in the second House between 2017 and 2022.

  13. Raila, Rigathi in surprise meeting

    Raila and Rgathi, who were in Mombasa for separate events, met at the airport.

    Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua Raila Odinga talking meeting airport mombasa
  14. Raila, Rigathi in surprise meeting

    The two have been in Mombasa where they attended separate events on Wednesday

    Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua Raila Odinga talking meeting airport mombasa
  15. Cabal around Raila is to blame for his election loss: MP Otiende Amolo

    MP says a series of blunders by dishonest individuals around Raila cost him the election.

  16. 'Shame on Judiciary': Raila speaks for first time since verdict

    Raila tears into Judiciary, saying his supporters had their time wasted by voting.

    Azimio la Umoja One Kenya presidential party leader Raila Odinga speaks to his supporters at the KICC.
  17. 'Shame on Judiciary', says Raila in first speech since Supreme Court verdict

    Raila said he went to Zanzibar with his family to heal after the shock delivered by the apex court judgment.

  18. Ruto’s Nyanza allies jostle for government positions

    So intense is the lobbying that some of Dr Ruto’s supporters and Kenya Kwanza officials are warning the President about ‘opportunists’


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