Raila Odinga was born at Maseno Church
Missionary Society Hospital, in Maseno, Kisumu
District, Nyanza Province on 7 January 1945 to
the late Mary Ajuma Odinga and the late
Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, the first Vice
President of the Republic of Kenya.
He went to Kisumu Union Primary School, Maranda
Primary and Maranda High School where he
stayed until 1962.
Raila Amolo Odinga 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
In 1970, he graduated with an Msc
(Masters of Science) in Mechanical
Raila returned to Kenya in 1970.
In 1971 he established the Standard Processing
Equipment Construction and Erection Limited
(later renamed East African Spectre), a
company specialized in the manufacturing of
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.
In 1982, Raila Odinga was placed under house
arrest for 7 months by then Daniel Moi, the
President of Kenya.
Raila was later charged with treason following his political agitation
for wider democratic space and detained
without trial for six years.
His mother died in 1984, but it took the prison wardens two
months to inform him of her passing, an
experience he openly confesses as one of the
most traumatizing in his hitherto eventful
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-
Raila Odinga 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 for Norway with a hint that
the Kenyan government would attempt to
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
Raila won the Langata Constituency
parliamentary seat, previously held by Philip
Leakey of KANU.
When Jaramogi Oginga Odinga died in
January 1994, and Michael Wamalwa Kijana
succeeded him as FORD-Kenya chairman,
Raila challenged him for the party
The elections were marred by controversy after which Raila resigned from
FORD-Kenya to join the National Development
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
June 2001 t- 2002: Raila Odinga served in the
Moi’s Cabinet as Energy Minister
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
Raila and other KANU members, including his
current Deputy in the CORD Coalition Kalonzo
Musyoka, the late George Saitoti and the late
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.
Raila became the second father of multi-
party democracy in Kenya after Kenneth
Matiba. It was at this point that he earned
his nickname; to his political followers, he is
also referred as “Agwambo”, the meaning of
which is Mysterious One, or “Jakom”, meaning
President Kibaki failed to honor a pre-
election agreement regarding political equity
among the stakeholders in NARC and a pledge
made to the Kenyan people to review the
Kenyan Constitution within a hundred days of
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 November 23, 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
August 2007: 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.
September 1, 2007: 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
The defeated candidates expressed
their support for Odinga afterward, and
Mudavadi was named as his running mate.
October 6, 2007: Odinga launched his
presidential campaign in Uhuru Park in
Nairobi on October 6, 2007, which saw a record
attendance in this or any other venue in
December 30, 2007: The chairman of the
Kenyan election commission controversially
declared Raila’s opponent, incumbent
president Mwai 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.
Most opinion polls had speculated that Odinga
would defeat president Kibaki. Independent
international observers have since stated that
the poll was marred by irregularities
, especially at the
final vote tallying stages.
Many ODM supporters across the country rioted against
the announced election results.
Later violence broke out in the country
after widespread incidents of police brutality.
Following two months of unrest, a peace 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 Elections
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.
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. 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
stated that the manual tallying was suspect
leaving him no choice but to contest the result
in Kenya’s highest court, The Supreme Court.
IEBC made claims on TV and media
that there were “technological challenges”,
that “servers overloaded” and that “database
The co-hosting of the IEBC server and the TNA
server also formed one of its greatest
arguments in the piece of evidence.
According to the rejected submission, IEBC
allowed Kencall EPZ to co-host both its
database and that of the TNA on the same
server with an IP address 22.214.171.124, which
Odinga through his lawyers argued compromised
the integrity of the electoral process.
Kenya’s chief justice Dr. Willy Mutunga
announced on Monday, 11 March that the
Supreme Court was fully formed and ready to
deliver its judgment 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
Subsequently, The Supreme Court
issued a ruling dismissing the petition on 30
March 2013. The Supreme Court while declaring
Uhuru the next President.
Raila Odinga now serves the Republic of Kenya
as the Leader of the Official Opposition keen
to ensure the full and proper implementation
of the Constitution of Kenya 2010, the
promotion of democratic ideals and the
protection of equity & justice in our society.