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 apologises after goons disrupt Kalonzo presser

    Wiper leader Kalonzo Musyoka was among the leaders ejected by the rowdy youths.

    Raila Odinga
  2. PREMIUM Azimio night meeting: Cracks emerge over Ruto's call for talks

    Raila’s Orange Democratic Movement party has set tough conditions ahead of the national dialogue

     Azimio la Umoja leaders
  3. Let Ruto carry his own cross, leaders tell Raila

    Mr Odinga says dialogue is meant to find solutions to issues affecting the country.

    Raila Odinga
  4. President Ruto sacks entire cabinet

    Office of Deputy President Rigathi Gachagua unaffected.

    President William Ruto addresses the nation at State House in Nairobi.
  5. Don't engage Raila, Kahiga tells President Ruto

    Governor Mutahi is disappointed that the demands of Gen Z have not been addressed.

    Mutahi Kahiga
  6. PREMIUM How anti-Ruto youth protests mirror Moi troubles of early 1990s

    Generation ‘Alpha’ will probably be the first entirely post-ethnic political society.

  7. Class politics: Ruto’s 2022 trump card turns into a monster

    Rude shock: Ruto’s bottom-up campaign awakened class politics...now he is discovering he cannot control it.

    President Ruto
  8. Raila: Ruto's government responsible for protest deaths

    KNCHR has put the death toll from the protests at 39, with a total of 361 injured, mostly as a result of police brutality.

  9. State in race against time to officially nominate Raila for AUC post

    Foreign Affairs PS Korir Sing'oei chaired the first technical committee comprising the government and Mr Odinga's teams.

  10. PREMIUM Why Raila's AUC campaign is in limbo

    The government of Kenya is yet to submit Raila Odinga's candidacy for the AUC job.

    Raila Odinga
  11. PREMIUM Why attention has shifted to IMF after rejection of new tax bill

    The IMF, and its sibling the World Bank, have shaped the country’s fiscal journey since independence.

  12. Anti-tax demos: Raila takes on Ruto over violent police response

    Mr Odinga says police officers sprayed bullets on young unarmed protesters who only wanted their voices heard.

     ODM leader Raila Odinga
  13. You have only yourself to blame, Nyanza leaders tell Ruto

    Those killed must be given a state funeral and the national flag must be flown at half-mast

    James Orengo
  14. Wandayi tells off Gachagua over NIS comment

    He calls on President Ruto to save the country from further disintegration and ridicule.

    National Assembly Minority Leader Opiyo Wandayi
  15. Raila to State: Stop killing our children

    Says escalation of the protests that has since turned bloody was because of the arrogance and obstinacy by government officials.

    Azimio leader Raila Odinga during a press briefing at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Foundation offices in Nairobi
  16. Raila takes AUC post campaign to Francophone nations

    Kenya will submit his AUC candidacy bid by June 30.

    Raila Odinga
  17. PREMIUM Ruto’s house of cards: Why President is no longer at ease

    Ruto's best laid plans are experiencing turbulence that could define the political landscape ahead of 2027 polls.

    William Ruto.
  18. Azimio to block any DP impeachment

    Kalonzo's stance set political tongues wagging.

  19. CS Ababu Namwamba booed at Fred Omondi's memorial

    The event attracted high-profile personalities like Raila and his wife, Ida.

    Ababu Namwamba
  20. PREMIUM Mudavadi’s big gamble in ANC-UDA merger

    His entry into the ruling UDA is also likely to place him at the heart of the power.

    Prime Cabinet Secretary Musalia Mudavadi (left) and President William Ruto