Former Prime Minister Raila Odinga is a respected Kenyan politician with a legacy of defending the ideals of pan Africanism. He is a long serving leader of opposition, commanding exceeding influence and loyalty from across the world. Raila Amolo Odinga biography has it all from personal life and to an illustrious career in politics.
The history of Kenyan politics is not complete without mentioning Raila Odinga for all the good and wrong reasons alike. Most important is a reputation of speaking against corruption and ensuring actions of justice for all. Raila Odinga remains iconic for his affectionate sense of humour and effortless skill in leadership.
PM Raila Amolo Odinga profiles summary
- Real name: Raila Amolo Odinga
- Popularly: Rao
- Nickname: Baba, Agwambo, Jakom
- Date of birth: January 7, 1945
- Birth sign: Capricorn
- Place of birth: Maseno, Nyanza
- Raila Amolo Odinga age: 76 years old
- Ethnicity: Luo tribe
- Ancestral home: Bondo
- County: Siaya County
- Nationality: Kenyan (East Africa)
- Raila Amolo Odinga Instagram: @odingaraila
- PM Raila Amolo Odinga Facebook: @RailaOdingaKE
- Raila Amolo Odinga Twitter: @RailaOdinga
- Occupation: Engineer, politician
- Roles: Official leader of opposition
- Raila Amolo Odinga wife: Ida Anyango Oyoo
- PM Raila Amolo Odinga children: 4
- Years active: 1970 to date
- Religion: Christian
- Sexual orientation: Straight
- Relationship status: Married
Raila Amolo Odinga is famous for serving as a Prime Minister of Kenya between 2007 and 2013. Also, for surviving 6 years of detention without trial; between 1982 and 1988.
Former PM Raila Amolo Odinga biography with pictures
Raila remains a big wig in the larger African continent, especially, Eastern Africa.
Rao is clearly a fighter, a leader, a strategist, an investor, and a proud family man. There is more to know.
Who is Raila Odinga?
Raila is a longstanding Kenyan politician, formerly a Member of Parliament, Prime Minister, Leader of Opposition, and now a major BBI proponent.
PM Raila is alternatively called Agwambo, meaning the Mysterious One, Baba, meaning a father, and Jakom, meaning a chairman.
NASA Principle Baba Rao is on the eve of playing his cards right ahead of the upcoming 2022 general elections.
How old is Raila Odinga?
Raila Odinga age is 76 years old as of 2021. Born in 1945, Raila celebrates his birthdays on the 7th of January.
The born day often attract showers of well wishes; with Rao’s unsettling political career in mind.
Tribe, ethnicity, and nationality
Raila Amolo Odinga is of the Luo tribe from the Lake region in the western parts of Kenya.
He shares the same ancestral background with the former US president Barack Obama.
Additional renowned figures from Raila’s born place include Miguna Miguna, James Orengo, and the late Robert Ouko.
Where was Raila born?
Former PM Raila Amolo Odinga from Bondo in Siaya County was born at the Anglican Church Missionary Society Hospital within Maseno, Kisumu County.
Early life and childhood records indicate that Raila was a clever boy preferring to engage in social conversations.
Is Raila Odinga a Christian?
Yes, the former PM was raised as an Anglican Christian of the Church Missionary Society.
Later on, Raila denounced his childhood faith and religious beliefs to become a Christian.
Concerning religion, Raila Odinga is a baptised member of the Nairobi based All Saints’ Cathedral Church.
Raila Amolo Odinga family tree and photos
The grandparents of Raila Odinga are Odinga Raila and Mama Opondo Nyamagolo from Nyamira Kang’o village in Siaya County.
The lineage of Raila has deep roots in governance and politics.
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga family biography
Raila’s father Jaramogi was a polygamous man with four wives and seventeen children.
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga wives include Mary Juma, Susan Agik, Gaudencia Adeya, and Betty Adongo.
Born in 1911 at Bondo, Jaramogi died in 1994 at the age of 82 years. He remains notable for his involvement in the struggle for independence and multiparty campaigns.
VP Jaramogi Oginga Odinga resigning in 1966
Jaramogi voluntary resigned from the position of Vice President in 1966 following a series of disagreements with Jomo Kenyatta.
Records have shown that President Kenyatta remained in favour of partnering with the western bloc including the United States.
On the contrary, Jaramogi insisted on coordinating with the Soviet Union, the People’s Republic of China, and other states in the Warsaw Pact.
Jaramogi eventually resigned from the vice president position because he was unhappy with Jomo Kenyatta’s leadership style.
Retired PM Raila Amolo Odinga biography on parents
Raila Amolo Odinga mother is the late Mary Juma Odinga while his father is the iconic Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.
The powerful Jaramogi was the first vice president of the independent Kenya in the mid-60s during the regime of Jomo Kenyatta.
Raila Amolo Odinga brother Oburu Odinga biography
Born on October 15 1943, Oburu Ngona Odinga is a renowned politician, currently a member of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA).
He was formerly an assistant Minister of Finance in the Grand Coalition government of PM Raila and President Mwai Kibaki.
Elsewhere, Oburu was previously a senior executive in various companies including Lutatco.
Raila Amolo Odinga sister Ruth Odinga biography
Ruth Odinga is a strong woman who deputized Governor Jack Ranguma between 2013 and 2017.
Born February 28, 1963, Ruth is a last born daughter to VP Jaramogi Odinga. She is a graduate from Oslo University.
PM Raila Odinga family history and children
Raila Odinga and his wife Ida Anyango Oyoo are a lovely couple with four children, among them two boys and two girls.
Raila Odinga sons are the late Fidel Castro Odinga and businessman Raila Junior.
Besides, Raila’s daughters are Winnie Irmgard and Rosemary Akeyo.
Educationalist Rosemary Odinga is head and director of Raila Odinga Centre in Kibera Slums.
Rosemary is a mother of two, lately keen on improving the quality of education in Kenya.
On the other hand, Winnie Odinga is Director of Green Outreach Foundation Africa with a strong passion in photography.
Unfortunately, the Odinga family lost the first born son Fidel Odinga in 2015.
Fidel is survived with wife Lwam Bekele and son Allay Raila Odinga.
Notably, businessman Fidel Odinga was the most likely political heir in Odinga’s lineage.
Ida Odinga profile and marriage with Raila
Ida Betty Odinga also called Ida Anyango Oyoo is a Kenyan businessperson, educator, and activist.
Raila Odinga and Ida Anyango met at the University of Nairobi where Raila was a staff member in the Department of Engineering and Ida a student.
Mama Ida married Raila Odinga on September 1, 1973 after dating for some time.
Odinga’s wife Ida graduated in 1974 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in education.
After that, Ida worked for about 20 years as a teacher, mostly at the Nairobi based Kenya High School.
Sources indicate that the late Bomet County governor Joyce Laboso was her student at Kenya High.
KANU sacked Mama Ida Odinga from her teaching profession
Raila’s conflicts with the ruling KANU regime of Daniel Arap Moi ended with Mama Ida expelled from her teaching position.
Later on, Ida served as a Managing Director at the Odinga owned East African Spectre.
She has since remained in the list of powerful women in Kenya, attracting the eyes of local and worldwide publishers such as CNN International.
PM Raila Odinga education CV summary
Where did Raila go to school? Raila started his formal education in the 1950s at Kisumu Union Primary School.
He later transferred to Maranda Primary before joining Maranda High School. Raila completed his secondary studies in 1962 with good grades.
Excellent results qualified Raila Odinga to fly outside the country on a scholarship programme for further studies in German.
Raila Amolo Odinga biography on University studies in German
The determined Raila enrolled at Herder Institute in Marburg, Germany. He would remain a student for two years at the institution.
Herder Institute is a philological faculty and a part of the University of Leipzig to the eastern parts of Germany.
Notice that Philology means the study of language in both oral and written historical forms. It is a blend of linguistic, history, literary, and textual criticism.
In 1965, Raila Odinga received a scholarship into the Technical School, Magdeburg, within the German Democratic Republic (GDR).
The college is recently a branch of Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg.
In 1970, Raila Amolo Odinga graduated with Masters of Science Degree in Mechanical Engineering and Welding and returned to Kenya within the same year.
Professional Engineer Raila Amolo Odinga
Returning to the motherland Kenya after 8 years of studies in German marked the start of Raila’s professional career.
In 1971, Raila founded the Standard Processing Equipment Construction & Erection Limited dealing with Liquid petroleum gas cylinders.
Soon after, the company renamed to East African Spectre. Raila Odinga LinkedIn profile recognizes him as CEO of this 50 years old firm.
Meanwhile, Raila lectured at the University of Nairobi in the Department of Engineering. It is about this time that he met and married his sweetheart Ida.
Prime Minister Raila Odinga career history
Raila Odinga An Enigma In Kenyan Politics pdf breaks it down on his personal life and widely admired political career.
The book shares fine details about Raila’s uprising into positions of power and influence.
Raila Amolo Odinga biography on how he started amid struggles
A video shared on Raila’s official Twitter account breaks it down on his daring business journey.
It all started with an insight from an Indian friend who informed Raila about powerful machines that were on auction at a Parklands in Nairobi.
Among these were welding machines, rolling machines, lathe machines, and sheet metal cutting machines.
These costly workshop labour-saving devices belonged to a Ugandan based Indian businessman who had fled the brutal regime of Idi Amin Dada.
The desperate Indian owner wanted quick money for his immediate relocation to the Great Britain.
As a result, Raila who was then a lecturer at the University of Nairobi hastily sold off his left hand drive car he had sourced from German to raise the acquisition fee of Ksh. 12,000.
Raising the amount was not easy considering that Raila’s salary at UoN was only Ksh. 2,000 at the time.
Raila Odinga starting East African Spectre in 1971
Raila opened doors at the East African Spectre in 1971, months after returning to Kenya from Germany.
Former PM Raila Odinga used the newly bought second hand machines to set up his first workshop at the Industrial Area along Kingston Road, now called Kampala Road.
The firm became the first Kenyan private supplier of gas cylinders in the larger East Africa.
PM Raila Odinga history in politics
Raila entered into politics after the footsteps of his father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.
For the record, Jaramogi had differed with Jomo Kenyatta and resigned from the office of vice president in 1966.
Daniel Arap Moi succeed Jaramogi in 1967 and eventually became president in 1978 following the death of Jomo Kenyatta.
Moi’s regime further stayed at a stand-off with the defiant Jaramogi Oginga Odinga and his family.
Raila Odinga detention years in the 80s
The failed 1982 Coup D’etat left Raila Amolo Odinga and his father Jaramogi locking horns with President Moi.
The first arrest
Raila Odinga was first arrested and kept in a house arrest for 7 months under strict orders from Moi’s government.
Thereupon, Raila faced charges of treason. He was then detained for six years without trial in the court of law.
Raila’s forceful arrest and detainment came at a time when democratic voices were starting to awaken.
The mother of Raila, Mary Juma Odinga, died in 1984. Sadly, it took 2 months for Raila to learn of her passing away.
The oppressive masters denied Raila the freedom of mourning her mother. The incident still haunts Baba to date.
Meanwhile, the General Service Unit (GSU) tortured Raila repeatedly.
Police Commissioner, Ben Gethi, is among those who pushed Raila to the corner for a confession on the failed coup.
The second arrest
Raila was finally released in February 6, 1988, only to be re-arrested on September within the same year. He was later released on June 12, 1989.
Raila’s second arrest came because of his association with pro-democracy activists and other human rights groups.
At this point, president Moi was almost losing to the supporters of multi-party democracy in Kenya.
The third arrest and fleeing to exile
Raila’s third arrest came on June 5, 1990, alongside other freedom fighters such Charles Rubia and Kenneth Matiba.
Baba came out the abusive and torturous Nyayo detention on June 21, 1991.
The painful memories of his lengthy stay behind the bars are still fresh wounds.
In October 1991, Raila escaped to exile, Norway, on fears of a planned assassination plot.
Raila Amolo Odinga biography on multi party politics of 1992
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga became head of the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD).
The newly formed FORD movement attracted Raila back to Kenya from Norway in February 1992.
The wrong turns of event left FORD breaking into FORD Kenya led by Jaramogi Oginga and FORD Asili led by Kenneth Matiba.
Becoming Langata MP in 1992 general elections
The fateful split within FORD came a few months to the 1992 General Elections.
Luckily, Raila managed to succeed Philip Leakey as a Member of Parliament in Langata Constituency.
Michael Wamalwa Kijana succeeded the late Jaramogi as FORD Kenya party leader. Raila remained the official deputy director of elections.
A controversial party leader selection exercise saw Raila resigning from FORD Kenya and joining the National Development Party (NDP).
Contesting for presidency in 1997 general elections
Raila lost to Daniel Arap Moi in the 1997 General Elections. He managed the third place after Moi and Mwai Kibaki.
Michael Kijana Wamalwa and Charity Ngilu came fourth and fifth in this much contested elections.
The presidential race of 15 candidates ended with Raila maintaining his position as Langata MP.
Raila Amolo Odinga biography on collaborating with Moi’s government
After conceding, Raila joined hands with Moi resulting in merger between KANU and NDP parties.
In return, the former Raila became an Energy Cabinet Minister between 2001 and 2002.
Similarly, KANU poised Raila into the rank of a Secretary General, a position previously occupied by Joseph Kamotho.
Odinga Raila breaking loose from KANU
Moi’s decision to endorse, then 38 years old, Uhuru Kenyatta for a successor displeased the more experienced Raila Odinga.
Kalonzo Musyoka, J.J Kamotho, and George Saitoti are among other KANU officials who felt betrayed.
Raila collaborating with Mwai Kibaki of NARC
Raila’s Rainbow Movement divorced KANU for a merger with the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and the National Alliance Party of Kenya (NAK) of Mwai Kibaki.
The new power bloc teamed up to form the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) which ended up defeating Moi’s preferred candidate, Uhuru Kenyatta, in the 2002 General Elections.
Disagreements with Mwai Kibaki
Emilio Mwai Kibaki defeated Uhuru Kenyatta with full support from among other stakeholders such as Raila Odinga.
President Kibaki’s failure to honour a pre-election pledge of reviewing the Constitution of Kenya within the first 100 days in office left Raila Odinga betrayed yet again.
Resulting open disagreements steered Raila to stand alone with his dream of constitutional amendments.
2005 Kenyan constitutional referendum, Banana versus Orange
The disputed referendum of November 21, 2005 ended with Raila’s Orange team winning by 58% against Kibaki’s Banana team losing with 42%.
As such, Raila played a key role in the development of the 2010 Constitution.
The opposed regime of Kibaki disbanded the cabinet on November 23, 2005 only to recollect it back a couple of weeks later without big names such as Raila and his allies.
Forming the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM)
ODM became a major opposition party following Raila’s fallout from Kibaki’s regime.
Both ODM and KANU parties collaborated to ensure the passing of a new constitution.
2007 general election in Kenya
Samuel Kivuitu who formerly chaired the Electoral Commission of Kenya, declared Mwai Kibaki winner of the presidential elections on December 30, 2007.
His announcement followed a series of violent incidences in Kibera, Kisumu, and other ODM stronghold areas.
In addition, many people of the Kikuyu ethnic group lost their lives within the Rift Valley.
Widespread violence later ceased when the late Kofi Anan, a Ghanaian Diplomat, persuaded Raila and Kibaki into a peace deal.
Thereafter, Raila became a Prime Minister and Mwai Kibaki the President of the Republic of Kenya.
Raila Odinga in the 2013 general elections
The disputed elections of 2013 saw Raila, Kalonzo Musyoka, Moses Wetangula, and Musalia Mudavadi of Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD) losing to Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto of Jubilee.
Chief Justice Willy Mutunga dropped Raila’s petition even after IEBC admitting technical issues that may have worked to the disadvantage of those who lost.
Claims of election fraud remains unconfirmed in both the 2007 and 2013 General Elections.
Raila Odinga in the 2017 general elections
Former PM Raila Odinga lost yet again in a disputed general election of 2017.
Lawyers Otiende Amollo, James Orengo, and Clifford Ochieng insisted that Uhuru was an unfair winner.
It is in the 2017 election that the retired Chief Justice David Kenani Maraga made an historical ruling, describing the presidential elections results null and void.
Swearing in the People’s President Raila Odinga
On January 30, 2018, the controversial lawyer, Miguna Miguna, graced a swearing in ceremony in which Raila Odinga took oath into office as the people’s president.
The government reacted by taking down all the involved television stations and media houses.
The punitive move was highly reproached by both local and international press freedom activists.
Building Bridges Initiative (BBI)
March 9, 2018 closed the chapter of divisive politics between Raila Odinga and Uhuru Kenyatta.
The handshake later developed into the now popular Building Bridges Initiative (BBI).
Former US president Barack Obama and Raila Odinga
Raila and Obama come from the same ethnic group in Kenya and are both successful politicians of all time.
The two are allegedly good friends beyond politics and matters governance.
Former PM Raila Odinga net worth 2021
Raila Odinga wealth is at least Ksh. 25 billion, qualifying him into the list of top 10 richest Kenyans in 2021.
Baba has mainly accumulated this income from his previous positions of power.
Also, good returns from East African Spectre, salaries, and inheritance from Jaramogi Odinga adds to the deep pockets.
Raila Amolo Odinga biography on his legacy
The legacy of Raila Odinga spans from his professional career to business engagements, and political interests.
He is particularly celebrated for defending the conservation of Mau Forest and the passing of the new constitution of 2010.
Raila Amolo Odinga contacts
- Phone: +254202712497
- Website: rao.co.ke
- Address: P.O Box 10311 – 00100, Nairobi
Connect with Raila Amolo Odinga, Baba Rao, through Orange House for further inquiries.
Former Prime Minister Raila Amolo Odinga biography shares rare facts about his personal life and rocky political career. Indeed, Raila is a man of action when it comes to human rights and transparency in national leadership.