Raila Odinga Biography: Age, Education, Political Career, Offices, Wife, Family, Net Worth

Raila Odinga biography

Raila Odinga Biography

Raila Odinga is a Kenyan politician and businessman who has served as the prime minister of Kenya from 2008 to 2013 and the leader of the opposition since 2013. He is also the son of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, the first vice president of independent Kenya and a champion of democracy and social justice. He is the leader of Azimio la Umoja–One Kenya Coalition Party.

Raila Odinga has run for president of Kenya five times, but has never won. He has alleged electoral fraud in each of his attempts. In 1997, he finished third as the candidate of the National Development Party (NDP).

In 2007, he ran again for the presidency under the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) and lost to Mwai Kibaki. In 2013, 2017, and 2022, he was the runner-up as a candidate for the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy (CORD), National Super Alliance (NASA) and Azimio la Umoja respectively.

Raila Odinga Age

Raila Odinga is 79 years old as of 2024.

Raila Odinga Early Life and Education

Raila Odinga was born on January 7, 1945, in Maseno, Kisumu District, Nyanza Province, to Mary Juma Odinga and Jaramogi Oginga Odinga. He was the second-born child in a family of four brothers and three sisters.


His father was a prominent Luo leader and a nationalist who fought for Kenya’s independence from British colonial rule. His mother was a nurse and a devout Christian who instilled in him the values of hard work, honesty, and compassion.

Raila Odinga attended Kisumu Union Primary School and Maranda Primary School in Bondo for his primary education. He then joined Maranda High School, where he studied until 1962. He was an active student who participated in various clubs and sports. He also developed an interest in politics and current affairs, influenced by his father’s involvement in the Kenya African National Union (KANU), the dominant political party at the time.

In 1962, Raila Odinga was transferred by his father to Germany, where he continued his secondary education at the Herder Institute in Leipzig. He then enrolled at the Technical University of Magdeburg, where he studied mechanical engineering.

He graduated with a master’s degree in 1970. During his stay in Germany, he learned German and Russian languages and became exposed to different cultures and ideologies. He also joined the Socialist German Student Union, a radical student movement that opposed the Vietnam War and advocated for social change.

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Raila Odinga Career

Raila Odinga biography

Raila Odinga began his career as a lecturer at the University of Nairobi in the Department of Mechanical Engineering in 1970. He also engaged in various engineering-related business ventures, including one that would later become East African Spectre, Ltd., a gas cylinder manufacturing company.

He left the university in 1974 and joined the Kenya Bureau of Standards as a deputy director. He also became politically active and supported government reforms and democracy in Kenya, following his father’s footsteps.

In 1982, Raila Odinga was accused of plotting against President Daniel arap Moi and was imprisoned without trial for six years. After his release, he was twice arrested for campaigning against one-party rule, and in 1991 he sought refuge in Norway.

Raila Odinga Biography


He returned to Kenya in 1992 and was elected a member of the National Assembly for Langata Constituency under the banner of the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy–Kenya (FORD–K), the party led by his father. After his father’s death in 1994, Raila Odinga became embroiled in a leadership struggle within the party and in 1996 left FORD–K and joined the National Development Party (NDP).

In 1997, Raila Odinga stood unsuccessfully as the NDP’s candidate for election as president of Kenya but was able to retain his seat in the National Assembly. He and the NDP thereafter gave their support to Moi and the ruling Kikuyu-dominated Kenya African National Union (KANU).

Raila Odinga joined Moi’s cabinet as energy minister in 2001, and the NDP was absorbed into the ruling party the following year, with Raila Odinga becoming secretary-general of KANU. However, he soon fell out with Moi over the latter’s choice of successor and formed the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) with other dissident KANU members and opposition parties. NARC won the 2002 general.

Raila Odinga Wife and Children

Raila Odinga is married to Ida Odinga, a businesswoman, activist and educator. They have four children: Fidel Odinga (deceased), Rosemary Odinga, Raila Odinga Jr, and Winnie Odinga.

Raila Odinga Net Worth

Raila Odinga’s net worth is estimated to be around US$ 25 million as of 2024.


Raila Odinga Social Media Handles

  • Instagram: railaodinga5th
  • Facebook: Raila Odinga
  • Twitter: Raila Odinga

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