Raila Odinga: 10 Things You Didn’t Know About Him


Raila Amollo Odinga is a Kenyan leader and politician who was born in January 1945. His political career has not been a bed of roses because the leader had to endure a lot of harsh treatment in his quest to fight for the democracy of Kenya. Raila is a noble and loving politician who commands a heavy following especially in the western part of Kenya. Popularly known as Agwambo, his highest position in office was when he was appointed as the prime minister of the republic of Kenya in 2008.

Here are the Top 10 Lesser Known Facts About Raila Odinga:

1. Prime minister of the republic of Kenya

Following the controversial election in 2007, Raila Odinga had to form a coalition government with president Mwai Kibaki, a move that ended the post-election violence that had divided the country right in the middle. Mr Odinga later assumed office as the second in command in April 2008.

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2. He is the son of the first vice president of Kenya

Despite commanding a huge following in Kenya, many of his fans do not know that Raila’s father was the first vice president of Kenya. His father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was one of the iconic politicians that participated in the liberation of Kenya from the British leadership. His brave and sharp struggle saw him raise two sons, Raila and Oburu, who would later become renowned leaders in the history of Kenyan politics.


3. Raila was an MP the same time as his father

Both Raila Odinga and his father were members of parliament at the same time. This is a fact that most Kenyans do not know. As father and son, the duo served as MPs between 1992 and 1994. This is a very rare occasion that the Kenya parliament has never witnessed. Raila has also been in the Kenya parliament together with his brother Oburu Odinga at the same time.

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4. He has contested the presidency 3 times

If there is a Kenyan politician who deserves to be the president of Kenya, it is Raila Amolo Odinga. He made his first attempt in 1997 but only emerged the third after the then president Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi. In 2007, Raila made his second attempt for the presidency through the Orange democratic movement (ODM) ticket. This time he emerged second after Mwai Kibaki. In the last general election held in march 2013, Raila emerged second in an election that was marred with controversy and court appeals.

5. Has been in numerous political parties

If the facts are examined, Raila is one of the Kenyan politicians who have been in different political parties. He has been a member of National Development Party (NDP), KANU, Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) and ODM. His were calculated strategies aimed at forming a formidable opposition to remove the past incumbent presidents.

6. Raila is an Alumni of Maranda high school

Having been born in Maseno, Raila Odinga attended both Maranda primary school and Maranda secondary school. He finished his secondary education in 1962.

7. Raila is a qualified mechanical engineer

He is known as Engineer Raila Amolo Odinga and this is evident when you trace his academic road. Upon completing secondary education from Maranda, Raila progressed to Leipzig University in Germany. However, it was at Magdeburg technical school that Raila Odinga started his mechanical engineering career. He graduated in the year 1970 with a master’s of science in mechanical engineering.

8. Raila was once a detainee

Indeed, it can plausibly be argued that the life of this politician has never been smooth. He was under house arrest for 76 months after being linked with a failed coup attempt. This was one of the darkest days in Kenya In 1982 as many civilians lost their lives. He was later to be charged with treason, a move that saw him spend six years in jail.

9. Has something in common with Kenneth Matiba and Charles Rubia

Upon his release from jail in June 1989, Raila was rearrested a year later together with Charles Rubia and Kenneth Matiba. He was later released after one year and took exile in Norway.

10. He is a footballer

Raila was once a midfielder for Luo union football club, which is now popularly known as Gor mahia. This is the reason why the politician has a keen interest in the events of Kenya football and hardly misses any major soccer match that involves the Harambee stars of Kenya. Most Kenyans recognize him as one of the die-hard fans of Arsenal Football club.

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These are some of the things that you did not know about this Kenyan politician who many refer to as an enigma of Kenyan politics. Despite his unsuccessful attempts to be the president of Kenya; Raila definitely remains an inspiration to many Kenyans and a role model that many young Kenyans can emulate.

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