|Prime Minister of Kenya|
17 April 2008 – 9 April 2013
|Minister of Roads, Public Works, and Housing|
January 2003 – November 2005
|Minister for Energy|
June 2001 – December 2002
|President||Daniel arap Moi|
|Member of Parliament
December 1992 – January 2013
|Preceded by||Philip Leakey|
|Succeeded by||Joash Olum|
7 January 1945 |
Maseno, Kenya Colony
|Political party||ODM (2005–present)
FORD (Before 1992)
|Spouse(s)||Ida Odinga (m. 1973)|
|Relations||Jaramogi Odinga (father)
Oburu Odinga (brother)
|Alma mater||Leipzig University
|Cabinet||Grand coalition cabinet|
|Notable work(s)||The Flame of Freedom|
|Nickname(s)||Agwambo, Tinga, Baba, Jakom, Chairman|
Raila Amolo Odinga (born 7 January 1945), also popularly known to his supporters as Agwambo (meaning the "Mysterious One"), Tinga (Luo and Swahili for "tractor"), Baba, RAO, (abbreviated form of "Raila Amolo Odinga") and Jakom ("Chairman") is a Kenyan politician who was Prime Minister of Kenya from 2008 to 2013. He was first elected as the Member of Parliament for Langata in 1992, serving as Minister of Energy from 2001 to 2002 and as Minister of Roads, Public Works, and Housing from 2003 to 2005. He was the main opposition candidate in the 2007 presidential election. Following a violent post-electoral crisis, Odinga took office as Prime Minister in April 2008, serving as supervisor and coordinator of a national unity coalition government. He placed second in the subsequent 2013 presidential elections, garnering 5,340,546 votes, which represented 43.28% of the total votes cast.
Son of the first Vice President of Kenya, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, the family's origin in Kenya's Luo tribe has been a key to their political activity. Raila is commonly known by his first name due to coincidence: he was an MP at the same time as his father between 1992 and 1994. Raila Odinga was a presidential contender in the 1997 elections, coming third after President Daniel arap Moi of KANU and Mwai Kibaki of the Democratic Party. Odinga campaigned to run for President in the December 2007 elections on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket.
On 1 September 2007, Raila Odinga was elected as the presidential candidate of the ODM. He garnered significant support in the 2007 general election. According to the electoral body at the time (the ECK), he garnered the majority of the votes in Rift Valley, Western, his native Nyanza and Coast. Kibaki on the other hand won majority votes in Nairobi (Capital), North Eastern province, Central province and Eastern province. In the 2007 elections, his party, ODM, got 99 out of 210 seats in the parliament, making it the single largest party in parliament. The Kriegler report stated that ODMs strongholds added about 1.2 million dead voters to their voting tallies raising serious doubts as to Odingas self declared victory.
On 30 December 2007, the chairman of the Kenyan election commission declared Raila's opponent, incumbent president Kibaki, the winner of the presidential election by a margin of about 230,000 votes. Raila disputed the results, alleging fraud by the election commission. However he refused to submit to the constitutional procedure of petitioning the courts, believing that the courts were under manipulation of Kibaki and so were incapable of rendering a fair and impartial hearing.
Most opinion polls had speculated that Odinga would defeat the president, though the margin kept narrowing as election day neared. Independent international observers have since stated that the poll was marred by irregularities favouring both PNU and ODM, especially at the final vote tallying stages. Many ODM supporters across the country rioted against the announced election results, triggering the worst national violence in post-Independent Kenya.
Besides his own father,Jaramogi Oginga Oginga, Raila is identified as one of the leading forces behind the democratization process of Kenya, particularly during the repressive regime of President Daniel arap Moi (1978-2000) and the lead up to the adoption of the new Constitution that affirmed many formerly neglected civil rights.
- 1 Early life
- 2 Detention
- 3 Multi-party politics
- 4 Dissent from within
- 5 2007 presidential election
- 6 2013 presidential election
- 7 Political positions
- 8 Personal life
- 9 Controversy
- 10 Honours and awards
- 11 See also
- 12 References
- 13 Further reading
- 14 External links
Raila Odinga was born at Maseno Church Missionary Society Hospital, in Maseno, Kisumu District, Nyanza Province on 7 January 1945 to Mary Ajuma Odinga and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. His father served as the first Vice President of Kenya under President Jomo Kenyatta. He went to Kisumu Union Primary School, Maranda Primary and Maranda High School where he stayed until 1962. He spent the next two years at the Herder Institut, a part of the philological faculty at the University of Leipzig in East Germany. He received a scholarship that in 1965 sent him to the Technical School, Magdeburg (now a part of Otto-von-Guericke University Magdeburg) in the GDR. In 1970, he graduated with an Msc (Masters of Science) in Mechanical Engineering. While studying in East Berlin during the Cold War, as a Kenyan he was able to visit West Berlin through the Checkpoint Charlie. When visiting West Berlin, he used to smuggle goods not available in East Berlin and bring them to his friends in East Berlin.
He returned to Kenya in 1970. In 1971 he established the Standard Processing Equipment Construction & Erection Ltd (later renamed East African Spectre), a company manufacturing liquid petroleum gas cylinders. In 1974, he was appointed group standards manager of the Kenya Bureau of Standards. In 1978 he was promoted to its Deputy Director, a post he held until his 1982 detention.
Raila was placed under house arrest for seven months after evidence pointing to himself and his late father Oginga Odinga collaborating with the plotters of a failed coup attempt against President Daniel arap Moi in 1982, in which hundreds of Kenyan citizens and thousands of rebel soldiers died. Several foreigners also lost their lives. Raila was later charged with treason and detained without trial for six years.
A biography released in July 2006 indicated that Raila was far more involved in the attempted coup than he had previously claimed. After its publication, some MPs called for Raila to be arrested and charged, but the statute of limitations had already passed and, since the information was contained in a biography, Raila could not be said to have openly confessed his involvement. His mother died in 1984, but it took the prison wardens two months to inform him of her death.
Released on 6 February 1988, he was rearrested in September 1988 for his involvement with human rights and pro-democracy activists pressing for multi-party democracy in Kenya, which was then a one-party state. To his political followers, he is also referred as "Agwambo", the meaning of which is difficult to specify, or "Jakom", meaning Chairman.
Raila was released on 12 June 1989, only to be incarcerated again on 5 July 1990, together with Kenneth Matiba, and former Nairobi Mayor Charles Rubia. Raila was released on 21 June 1991, and in October, he fled the country to Norway with a hint that the corrupt Kenyan government attempted unsuccessfully to assassinate him.
At the time of Raila's departure to Norway, the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD), a movement formed to agitate for the return of multi-party democracy to Kenya, was newly formed. In February 1992, Raila returned to join FORD, then led by his father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. He was elected Vice Chairman of the General Purposes Committee of the party. In the months running up to the 1992 General Election, FORD split into Ford Kenya, led by Raila's father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, and FORD-Asili led by Kenneth Matiba. Raila became Ford-Kenya's Deputy Director of Elections. Raila won the Langata Constituency parliamentary seat, previously held by Philip Leakey of KANU. Raila became the second father of multi- party democracy in Kenya after Kenneth Matiba.
When Jaramogi Oginga Odinga died in January 1994, and Michael Wamalwa Kijana succeeded him as FORD-Kenya chairman, Raila challenged him for the party leadership. The elections were marred by controversy after which Raila resigned from FORD-Kenya to join the National Development Party (NDP). In the 1997 General Election, Raila finished third after President Moi, the incumbent, and Democratic Party candidate Mwai Kibaki. He retained his position as the Langata MP.
After the election, Raila supported the Moi government, and led a merger between his party, NDP, and Moi's KANU party. He served in Moi's Cabinet as Energy Minister from June 2001 to 2002, during Moi's final term.
In the subsequent KANU elections held later that year, he was elected the party's secretary general (replacing J. J. Kamotho). In 2002, the then President, Daniel Arap Moi, pulled a surprise by endorsing Uhuru Kenyatta – a son of Kenya's first president Jomo Kenyatta to be his successor. Moi publicly asked Raila and others to support Uhuru as well.
Raila and other KANU members, including Kalonzo Musyoka, George Saitoti and Joseph Kamotho, opposed this step arguing that the then 38-year-old Uhuru, was politically inexperienced and lacked the leadership qualities needed to govern. The Rainbow Movement went on to join the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP), which later teamed up with 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 Moi's protege, Uhuru Kenyatta.
Dissent from within
President Kibaki did not appoint Raila Odinga as Prime Minister on assuming office as perceived to have been agreed in the memorandum of understanding (Kenya's current constitution does not recognize a Prime minister); neither did he give LDP half the cabinet positions. He instead sought to shore up support for his NAK faction by appointing MPs from the opposition parties (KANU and FORD people) to the cabinet.
The perceived "betrayal" led to an open rebellion and a split within the cabinet, which culminated in disagreements over a proposed new constitution for the country. The government-backed constitutional committee submitted a draft constitution that was perceived to consolidate powers of the presidency and weaken regional governments as had been provided for under an earlier draft before the 2002 Elections. Raila opposed this, and when the document was put to a referendum on 21 November 2005, the government lost by a 57% to 43% margin. Following this, President Kibaki sacked the entire cabinet on 23 November 2005. When it was formed two weeks later, Raila and the entire LDP group were left out. This led to the formation of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) – an Orange was the symbol for the "no" vote in the constitutional referendum.
In January 2006, Raila Odinga was reported to have told police that he believed his life was in danger, having received assassination threats.
2007 presidential election
On 12 July 2007, Odinga alleged that the government was withholding identity cards from voters in places supportive of the opposition and that the intended creation of 30 new constituencies was a means by which the government sought to ensure victory in the December 2007 parliamentary election.
In August 2007, the Orange Democratic Movement-Kenya split in two, with Odinga becoming head of the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) while the other faction, the ODM-K, was headed by Kalonzo Musyoka. On 1 September 2007, the ODM elected Odinga as its presidential candidate in a National Delegates Conference held at the Moi International Sports Centre in Nairobi. Odinga received 2,656 votes; the only other candidates receiving significant numbers of votes were Musalia Mudavadi with 391 and William Ruto with 368. Earlier, Najib Balala had withdrawn his candidature and endorsed Raila. The defeated candidates expressed their support for Odinga afterward, and Mudavadi was named as his running mate.
Following the presidential election held on 27 December, the Electoral Commission in declared Kibaki the winner on 30 December 2007, placing him ahead of Odinga by about 232,000 votes. Jeffrey Sachs (Professor of Economics and Director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, and Special Advisor to former UN Secretary General) faulted the United States' approach to the post-election crisis and recommended an independent recount of the vote.
Raila and his ODM leaders rallied against the decision with James Orengo and Prof. Nyong'o calling for mass action. Later violence broke out in the country. Following two months of unrest, which led to the death of about 1000 people and displacement of about 250, 000, a deal between Odinga and Kibaki, which provided for power-sharing and the creation of the post of Prime Minister, was signed in February 2008; it was brokered by former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan. Odinga was sworn in as Prime Minister, along with the power-sharing Cabinet, on 17 April 2008. The post of Prime Minister was last held by Jomo Kenyatta between 1963 and 1964 following independence. Odinga is thus the second person in Kenya's history to hold the position.
2013 presidential election
A Synovate survey released in October 2012 found him to have a 45 percent approval rate.
Raila Odinga's party, Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) joined Kalonzo Musyoka's Wiper Party and Moses Wetangula's Ford Kenya (FK) in a CORD coalition (Coalition for Reforms and Democracy) for the presidential race with Raila as the presidential candidate and Kalonzo as his running mate to face Jubilee's coalition ( Uhuru Kenyatta's (The National Alliance – TNA), William Ruto's (United Republican Party – URP), Charity Ngilu's (National Rainbow Coalition – NARC) and Najib Balala's (Republican Congress – RC)).
In addition, few individuals from western countries led by former UN Secretary General Koffi Annan, former Assistant Secretary of State for African Affairs Johnnie Carson had tried to influence in favour of Raila the Kenyan voters by issuing threats if they chose Uhuru Kenyatta and William Ruto. Most notable statement from Carson was "Choices have consequences."
Raila ran for President in the elections held on 4 March 2013 and garnered 5,340,546 votes (43.70%) out of the 12,221,053 valid votes cast. The winner, Uhuru Kenyatta garnered 6,173,433 votes (50.51%). As this was above the 50% plus 1 vote threshold, Uhuru won it on the first round without requiring a run-off between the top two candidates.
The Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) therefore officially declared Uhuru Kenyatta the president elect on Saturday 9 March at 2:44pm. Uhuru was set to take office as Kenya's 4th president.
However, Raila Odinga in a press conference shortly after the results were announced noted that the election had been marred by massive failures by the BVR kits, EVID (electronic voter identification or "Pollbooks"), RTS (results transmission system or "tallying system") and the RPS (results presentation or "transmissions system"). He claimed that the manual tallying was suspect leaving him no choice but to The Kenya Presidential Election Petition 2013 contest the result in Kenya's highest court, The Supreme Court.
Mindful of bringing the challenge, Raila Odinga and his lawyers George Oraro, Mutula Kilonzo, and James Orengo, secretly instructed Raj Pal Senna, a Management Consultant from Barcelona to carry out a forensic investigation of the technology used in the Kenyan General Election 2013, during which the IEBC made claims on TV and media that there were "technological challenges", that servers overloaded and that database crashed.
Kenya's chief justice Dr. Willy Mutunga announced on Monday, 11 March that the Supreme Court was fully formed and ready to deliver its judgements within 14 days as stipulated by the constitution of Kenya.
During the Petition hearing, Chief Justice Willy Mutunga made a finding rejecting second affidavit of Raila Odinga which comprised 900 pages, on the basis that it amounted to "new evidence" which is not permitted under the Constitution. Subsequently, The Supreme Court issued a ruling dismissing the petition on 30 March 2013. The Supreme Court while declaring Uhuru the next President also declared that the IEBC should not have included the invalid/spoilt votes in the calculation of the final figures and percentages. Chief Justice Willy Mutunga also directed that the EACC (Ethics and Anti Corruption Commission) and the DPP (Director of Public Prosecutions) carry out a criminal investigation of the IEBC in relation to the BVR, EVID, RTS and RPS.
After the supreme court dismissed his petition Raila flew to South Africa to avoid attending the Inauguration of Uhuru Kenyatta, held on 9 April 2013 at Moi Sports Complex at Kasarani, Nairobi. The swearing ceremony marked the end of his premiership.
In an important development, the full investigation findings were published as the OpCo Report on the website www.kenya-legal.com and inspired the documentary "50+1 – The Inside Story" by KTN journalists John Namu and Mohammed Ali.
This documentary examines the history of election fraud and the history of corruption in the Judiciary, and in which Raila Odinga claims that it can not be ruled out that it was a deliberate act or omission by the Court not to subject the technical evidence to scrutiny because the outcome would invalidate the entire election process and discredit the IEBC.
Due to an economic downturn and extreme drought, Odinga called for the suspension of taxes on fuels and certain foods that disproportionately impact the poor.
Odinga is married to Ida Odinga (née Anyango Oyoo). They live in Karen, Nairobi and have a second home at central Farm, in Nyeri County. The couple have four children: Fidel (1973–2015), Rosemary (born 1977), Raila Jr. (born 1979) and Winnie (born 1990). Fidel was named after Fidel Castro and Winnie after Winnie Mandela. Winnie is currently studying Communication and International Area Studies as a double major student at Drexel University in Philadelphia.
In an interview with BBC News in January 2008, Odinga asserted that he was the first cousin of U.S. president Barack Obama through Obama's father. However, Barack Obama's paternal uncle denied any direct relation to Odinga, stating "Odinga's mother came from this area, so it is normal for us to talk about cousins. But he is not a blood relative."
Odinga was appointed by the African Union to mediate the 2010-2011 Ivorian crisis, which involved Alassane Ouattara and Laurent Gbagbo. Raila wrote "Flame of Freedom" a 1040 paged autobiography which talks about his life from childhood. It was launched on 6 October 2013 in Kenya and subsequently in United States on 15 October 2013. He was accompanied by a section of Kenyan county governors.
During his premiership, Odinga appointed Miguna Miguna as his advisor on coalition affairs, whom he later suspended in August 2011, citing "gross misconduct". The Daily Nation quoted his reason for suspension as being "accused of misrepresenting the office of the Prime Minister, possibly a reference to his having aired strong views which may have embarrassed the PM." Miguna Miguna latter published controversial books about his working relationship with Raila.
His suspension came at a time when the electoral body, the IIEC, was is in an uproar and unsettled by anonymously authored complaints which the commissioners characterise as a hate campaign but which raise troubling questions on corruption and nepotism. Later Miguna, after suspension, issued a statement that said he "was instructed to write my article on the IIEC chairman and the position he had taken with respect to the party's decision to kick out rebellious MPs and Councillors." He later denied, according to the Nairobi Star.
Honours and awards
|University of Nairobi||Kenya||Doctor of Laws||2008|
|Florida A&M University||United States||Honorary degree||2012|
|Limkokwing University of Creative Technology||Malaysia||Doctorate of Leadership in Social Development||2012|
- "Biography: Raila Odinga". raila-odinga.com. Archived from the original on 18 February 2013. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
- Okwembah, David (1 March 2013). "Raila Odinga: Third time lucky in Kenya?". BBC News. Retrieved 6 September 2014.
- Kenyatta declared winner of Kenya's presidential vote. Reuters. Retrieved on 10 April 2013.
- "Observers criticize poll standards" at the Wayback Machine (archived 21 January 2008) , Daily Nation, 18 January 2008.
- Vogt, Heidi (28 February 2008). "Kibaki, Odinga have a long history". USA Today. Associated Press. Retrieved 9 August 2012.
- Daily Nation, 9 December 2007: aila Odinga: I’m the bridge
- Newsweek Web Exclusive, 22 January 2008: The Man Who Would Be President
- Human rights Watch, 1992: Kenya: Human Rights Developments
- The Standard, 17 July 2006: ’82 coup: Arrest Raila, say MPs
- The Standard, 21 July 2006: Why A-G won’t charge Raila
- University of Pennsylvania, African Studies Centre, East Africa Living Encyclopedia: Kenya: IRIN Election Briefing, 12/13/97
- University of Pennsylvania, African Studies Centre, East Africa Living Encyclopedia: Kenya – History
- The Standard, 16 July 2006: Day Raila fled disguised as priest at the Wayback Machine (archived 12 January 2008)
- Center for Multiparty Democracy: Politics and Parliamentarians in Kenya 1944–2007
- Kenya: Saitoti, Raila And Kamotho Hold Breakfast Meeting. allafrica.com. 6 August 2002
- Joe Khamisi (2011). The Politics of Betrayal: Diary of a Kenyan Legislator. Trafford Publishing. p. 15. ISBN 978-1-4269-8676-5.
- BBC News, 16 September 2002: Anti-Moi alliance emerging
- BBC News, 30 September 2003: Uproar over Kenya leader's decree
- BBC News, 10 January 2006: Kenyan opponent 'fears for life'
- David Schlesinger and Barry Moody, "Presidential hopeful doubts free, fair polls", Reuters (IOL), 13 July 2007.
- Peter Clottey, "Kenya's Opposition Split Brightens Kibaki's Second Term Bid", VOA News, 16 August 2007.
- "Kenya: It's Raila for President", The Standard, 1 September 2007.
- Maina Muiruri, "ODM ‘pentagon’ promises to keep the team intact", The Standard (Kenya), 2 September 2007.
- "Leading News Resource of Pakistan". Daily Times. 25 January 2008. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- "Kibaki re-elected Kenyan president: official results", AFP (abc.net.au), 31 December 2007.
- Eric Ombok, "Kenya's Raila Odinga Sworn in as Prime Minister, Ending Crisis", Bloomberg.com, 17 April 2008.
- "allAfrica.com: Kenya: Raila's Ratings Fall But Still Ahead of the Pack". allAfrica. 15 April 2010. Retrieved 15 October 2012.
- "SUMMARY OF 2013 PRESIDENTIAL RESULTS DECLARED ON 9/3/2013". IEBC. 3 April 2013. Retrieved 3 April 2013.
- Landing Page. Raj Pal Senna (25 April 2014). Retrieved on 21 April 2015.
- Standard Digital News – Kenya : Breaking News, Latest, Business, Jobs, Football, Travel, Tourism, Elections, National, Nairobi, County, East Africa, Media. Standardmedia.co.ke (15 April 2015). Retrieved on 21 April 2015.
- Standard Digital News – Kenya : What Raila failed to tell in petition against Uhuru. Ktnkenya.tv. Retrieved on 21 April 2015.
- IEBC officials may be prosecuted over gadget failure – Politics and policy. businessdailyafrica.com (16 April 2013). Retrieved on 21 April 2015.
- OpCo Report: Election 4 Mar 2013. kenya-legal.com (24 January 2014)
- Standard Digital News – KTN : KTN Video | Part One: The Inside Story 50+1 (What really happened during the 2013 elections). Standardmedia.co.ke. (25 April 2014).
- Kenya Broadcasting Corporation, 1 June 2011: Principles Unite in Addressing High Cost of Living
- The Standard, 5 November 2007: ODM promises smooth transition if it wins
- "'Doomsday' man baptises Kenya PM". BBC News. 5 May 2009. Retrieved 25 June 2010.
- Leftie, Peter, Zaddock Angira, Njoki Chege and Stella Cherono (4 January 2014). "Raila family in mourning as eldest son found dead in bed after night partying – News – nation.co.ke". Daily Nation, nation.co.ke. Retrieved 8 January 2015.
- Daily Nation, 2 June 2001 The Price of being Raila Odinga's wife at the Wayback Machine (archived 28 January 2008)
- Odinga says Obama is his cousin, BBC News, 1/8/08.
- Some Kenyans forget crisis to root for Obama, Reuters, 1/8/08.
- Daily Nation, 4 August 2011, Raila kick out Key aid.
- Nairobi Star. 13 August 2011. In a twist of events however there are rumours that he will stand down and let one of the CORD principals Mr. Wetangula vie for presidency and back the Jubilee Party to be launched in September 2016 Miguna Slam Raila.
- "Citation" (PDF). University of Nairobi. 2008. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
- "Kenya Online: Applause as 'Dr Odinga' returns". kenyacentral.com. 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
- "Recognized_leadership: Rt. Hon. Raila Amolo Odinga". Limkokwing University. 2012. Retrieved 12 November 2014.
- Badejo, Babafemi A. (2006). Raila Odinga: An Enigma in Kenyan Politics. Lagos; Nairobi: Yintab Books. ISBN 9783720880.
- Odinga, Raila; Elderkin, Sarah (2013). The Flame of Freedom. Nairobi, Kenya: Mountain Top Publishers and Worldreader. ISBN 9966050582.
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