Ida Odinga

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Ida Odinga
Ida Odinga 2009.jpg
Spouse of the Prime Minister of Kenya
In office
17 April 2008 – 9 April 2013
Preceded byNgina Kenyatta
Succeeded byPost abolished
Personal details
Ida Anyango Oyoo

(1950-08-24) 24 August 1950 (age 69)
Migori, Kenya
Spouse(s)Raila Odinga

Ida Betty Odinga[1] (born Ida Anyango Oyoo on 24 August 1950[2])[3] is a Kenyan businesswoman, activist and educator. She is the wife of Raila Odinga, the former Prime Minister of Kenya.[3][4][5] In 2010, The Standard named Odinga, who was one of the first women to head a major Kenyan corporation, as the most powerful woman in Kenya.[3]


Early life[edit]

Odinga earned a Bachelor of Arts from the University of Nairobi in 1974 when she was 24 years old.[3][5] While attending the University of Nairobi, she met her future husband, Raila Odinga, who was an employee of the university's Department of Engineering at the time.[6] The couple married and have four children.[1]


She worked as a teacher for more than twenty years after graduation.[5] She taught at Kenya High School, an all-girls public school located near Nairobi.[7] Her students included the late Governor of Bomet County, Joyce Laboso.[7]

Raila Odinga was imprisoned in 1982 as a political prisoner by the government of President Daniel arap Moi.[1] Ida Odinga largely raised her children herself during those years while working as a teacher.[4][8] However, Ida Odinga was later expelled from her teaching position by the Kenya African National Union-led government due to Raila Odinga's political opposition.[6]

Odinga founded the League of Kenya Women Voters in 1991,[4] which promotes opportunities for women in the political arena.[3][8] She served as the chairperson of the League.[5] She has also championed a host of other causes, many focused on women, children and health in Kenya.[4] Odinga has advocated for the prevention of breast cancer and fistulas, and eradication of the chigoe flea.[3] She has also mentored Kenyan schoolgirls and sat on the board of directors for an organization which aids paraplegics.[3]

She became the managing director of the East African Spectre, a liquified gas cylinder manufacturing company, in 2003, becoming one of the first women to head a major Kenyan corporation.[3][4]

The Standard listed Odinga as the most powerful woman in Kenya in 2010.[3]

In a 2012 interview with CNN International, Odinga elaborated on her life as a politician's wife. She told CNN's Felicia Taylor, "It's good to be a wife, but it's good to be an educated wife. Being a wife, it's just not a position of subordination -- it's a position of strength."[4]

In November 2018, Odinga endorsed Bill 2018, which would amend the Constitution of Kenya to guarantee the nomination of female candidates and MPs to Parliament.[9] While she publicly supported the bill, which she said would increase leadership posts for women MPs, Odinga also noted that women had never had the opportunity to compete equally with male politicians in politics.[9] Odinga appeared in Parliament to support sitting women MPs during the debate.[10] However, the bill failed to pass in the National Assembly in February 2019, despite vocal support from Ida Odinga, President Uhuru Kenyatta, and other prominent politicians and activists.[10]


  1. ^ a b c Vogt, Heidi (2008-02-28). "Kibaki, Odinga have a long history". Associated Press. USA Today. Retrieved 2012-08-09.
  2. ^
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i "Top most powerful Kenyan women". The Standard Digital. 2010-10-23. Retrieved 2012-08-09.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Taylor, Felicia (2012-06-22). "Why Ida Odinga is not your average politician's wife". CNN - African Voices. Retrieved 2012-08-09.
  5. ^ a b c d Vogt, Heidi. "Lady Ida Odinga". Huffington Post. Retrieved 2012-08-09.
  6. ^ a b Muriuki, Benjamin (2017-05-22). "Margaret Kenyatta, Ida Odinga and Rachel Ruto Are Teachers by Profession". Retrieved 2019-10-14.
  7. ^ a b Kejitan, Vincent (2019-07-31). "Ida Odinga's touching tribute to the late Joyce Laboso". The Standard Digital. Retrieved 2019-10-14.
  8. ^ a b "Ida Odinga on Her Life, Marriage and Children – Wife to Kenya Prime Minister Raila Odinga (Drum February 2011)". Drum (Kenyan magazine). 2011-02-28. Retrieved 2012-08-09.
  9. ^ a b Nyamai, Faith (2018-11-28). "Ida Odinga: Gender rule will unlock countless opportunities for women". Daily Nation. Retrieved 2019-10-14.
  10. ^ a b Kihiu, Njoki (2019-02-27). "Kenya: Women MPs Say Stabbed in the Back as Gender Bill Flops Yet Again". 98.4 Capital FM. Retrieved 2019-10-14.