Raila Odinga’s biography: Who is he, his career, personal life

ByBizhack Editorial

May 1, 2022
Raila Odinga

Last updated on January 9th, 2023 at 02:11 pm

  • Name: Raila Amolo Odinga
  • Date of Birth: 7th January 1945
  • Place of Birth: Maseno, Kenya.

Education: Prime Minister Raila Odinga went to Maranda High School in Siaya County before proceeding to the United States where he secured a Bachelor’s degree in Law at the University of Miami and later his Master’s degree at Columbia University. While studying, he founded the African Students Association.

Career, Politics & Achievements: He was first elected as Member of Parliament for Langata in 1992, and served in the Kenyan government as Minister of Energy from 2001 to 2002 and Minister of Roads, Public Works, and Housing from 2003 to 2005.

He was also the Leader of the Official Opposition from 2007 to 2012. He was runner-up in the 2007 presidential election won by Mwai Kibaki, and served as Prime Minister in a coalition government with President Kibaki until April 2013; he lost again to Uhuru Kenyatta in the 2013 presidential election.

Odinga is presently a member of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM), an opposition political party that currently has its main base among Kenya’s Luo community (Odinga belongs).

Raila Odinga’s education

Raila Odinga began his high school education in 1970 at the age of 14. He attended the prestigious Maranda High School, which was located approximately 200km from his family’s home.

During his time at Maranda High School, Raila Odinga managed to gain a reputation as a student activist, which eventually landed him in trouble with school authorities and forced him to drop out of Maranda.

After dropping out of Maranda High School, Raila Odinga went on to attend the Kisumu Secondary School and later the Kibera Secondary School.

After completing his secondary school education, Raila Odinga enrolled at the University of Nairobi where he studied economics and political science.

It was during this time that he became involved with student activism once more and was imprisoned for organizing protests against Kenyan president Jomo Kenyatta’s government in 1976.

After serving 9 months in detention for protesting Jomo Kenyatta’s government, Raila Odinga graduated from university with a bachelor’s degree in economics and political science.

Raila Odinga’s career

Raila joined the Kenya African National Union (KANU) in 1966. He was imprisoned for two years in 1969, a period he spent reading literature on governance and political thought. Later, as a KANU secretary-general, Raila Odinga was imprisoned again from 1982 to 1988 after accusing President Daniel Moi of corruption and mismanagement of the economy.

In 1992, together with other opposition leaders, Raila Odinga formed the Forum for Restoration of Democracy (FORD) party. In 1997 FORD split into two factions and Raila Odinga formed another party called National Development Party (NDP). Later in 2002, the party merged with others to form National Rainbow Coalition (NARC), which won against KANU in the 2003 general elections.

In August 2007 Raila was nominated as a presidential candidate by the Orange Democratic Movement ODM-Kenya (ODM). His campaigns were geared toward fighting corruption and improving living conditions for Kenyans under his leadership.

On December 29th, 2007 Raila lost the hotly contested election to Mwai Kibaki by 200 000 votes out of 8 000 000 cast ballots. The opposition movement rejected the election results claiming that it had been rigged in favor of Mwai Kibaki who has been re-elected for his second term as President

For one month Kenya was engulfed by ethnic clashes between pro-ODM supporters and those who supported Mwai Kibaki’s faction PNU leading to over 1 500 deaths and displacing 600 000 people from their homes.

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The post-election violence received international condemnation but also highlighted some tribal fault lines within Kenyan society where ethnicity still plays an important role during elections time despite constitutional reforms advocating democratic values.

Raila Odinga’s personal life

Raila Odinga married Ida Odinga, in 1974. The couple has four children: two sons (Wingo and Fidel) and two daughters (Rosemary and Winnie). Odinga’s nephew, Oburu Odinga, is a Kenyan politician.

In June 2012, he was hospitalized after suffering a heart attack. In 2013 he was diagnosed with prostate cancer and underwent treatment in Nairobi before traveling to Houston for further treatments in September 2014.

Raila Odinga age: 77 years

His net worth

Raila Amolo Odinga’s net worth is estimated to be $500 thousand. Raila Odinga’s assets include the Runda House, which has seven bedrooms and six bathrooms and features a swimming pool, a Jacuzzi, and two servant quarters.

He also owns a foundation called the Raila Odinga Foundation. The foundation was founded in 2007 to support charitable activities by focusing on education, human rights issues, health care, cultural preservation, and the development of Kenya’s infrastructure.

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