Raila Amolo OdingaPresidential Aspirant
Raila Amolo Odinga (born 7 January 1945) is a Kenyan politician, presidential aspirant and businessman who served as the Prime Minister of Kenya from 2008 to 2013. He is assumed as the Leader of Opposition in Kenya since 2013. He was the Member of Parliament (MP) for Langata from 1992 to 2007. Raila Odinga served in the Cabinet of Kenya as Minister for Energy from 2001 to 2002, and as the Minister for Roads, Public Works and Housing from 2003 to 2005. Odinga was appointed High Representative for Infrastructure Development at the African Union Commission in 2018.
He was the main opposition candidate in the 2007 presidential election, running against the then incumbent Mwai Kibaki. In the subsequent presidential election 5 years later he placed second against Uhuru Kenyatta, garnering 5,340,546 votes, which represented 43.28% of the total votes cast. He made another attempt for the presidency in August 2017 against Uhuru Kenyatta. The electoral body declared Uhuru Kenyatta winner with 54% of the votes cast to Odinga’s 43%. This outcome was eventually annulled by the Supreme Court following findings that the election was marred by “Illegalities and irregularities.” A subsequent fresh election ordered by the Court was won by Uhuru Kenyatta when Odinga declined to participate citing inadequate reforms to enable a fair process in the repeat poll.
Son of the first Vice President of Kenya, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, he draws a large part of his support from various regions in Kenya, most notably the Coastal Region and his native former Nyanza Province. Odinga is commonly known as “Baba”. Coincidentally, he was an MP at the same time as his father between 1992 and 1994. Other nicknames that have been associated with the premier are such as “Nyundo” which is hammer in Kiswahili, “Tinga” which means tractor in Kiswahili a symbol of his National Development Party (NDP) and “Agwambo” meaning a man who is unpredictable (enigma or mysterious) and ‘Baba’ which means a political father, Kihii which means he is uncircumcised.
Odinga first ran for president in the 1997 General Elections, coming third after President Daniel arap Moi of KANU and Mwai Kibaki of the Democratic Party (DP), respectively. He contested for the presidency again in the 2007 General Elections on an Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) ticket.
In readiness for that poll, on 1 September 2007, Odinga was picked as ODM’s presidential nominee to face off with PNU’s Mwai Kibaki. He managed to garner significant support in that election. According to the he Electoral Commission of Kenya (ECK), the electoral body at the time, he swept the majority of the votes in Rift Valley (Kenya’s most populous area), Western, his native Nyanza, and Coast. Kibaki on the other hand won majority votes in Nairobi (the capital), North Eastern province, Central province and Eastern province, taking 4 provinces against Odinga’s 4. Odinga’s ODM party got 99 out of the 210 seats in the parliament, making it the single largest party in parliament.
The Kriegler report, commissioned to investigate the violent aftermath of the 2007 elections and alleged vote-rigging, stated that the names of about 1.2 million dead voters existed in the voters register, raising serious doubts to the integrity of the election.
On 30 December 2007, then chairman of the Kenyan election commission the late Samuel Kivuitu, declared the incumbent, President Kibaki, the winner of the presidential election by a slim margin of about 230,000 votes. Odinga disputed the results, alleging fraud by the election commission. However he refused to follow due process of petitioning the courts, believing that the courts were under manipulation by Kibaki and so could not give 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 in favor of both PNU and ODM, especially at the final vote-tallying stages. The announcement of Kibaki’s win was followed almost immediately by rioting and violent protests, from both ODM and PNU supporters, and the post-election violence continued for several weeks resulting in over 1000 deaths and the displacement of 500,000 people.
Besides his father, Odinga is identified as one of the leading forces behind the democratization process of Kenya, particularly during the repressive regime of President Daniel arap Moi (1978–2002) and the lead-up to the adoption of the new Constitution (2010) that re-affirmed many formerly neglected fundamental rights.
In 2017, Odinga ran for the presidency a fourth time, but lost to Uhuru Kenyatta. Odinga contested the election result in the Supreme Court, which nullified the results and called new elections as a result of electoral irregularities. Despite the Supreme Court ruling, Odinga announced on 10 October 2017 that he would withdraw from the second Presidential election.
- Website : rao.co.ke