Raila Amolo Odinga
Prime Minister (since 17 April 2008)
Date of Birth: 02/01/1945
Place of Birth: Maseno, Kisumo District, Nyanza Province
Commentary: Hailing from a strong political lineage, Raila is the son of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga who was Kenya's first post-Independence Vice-President. He is known by his first name Raila rather than Odinga because he was a member of Parliament at the same time as his father (1992-94) and is currently in the house with his brother, Oburu.
Raila has been a recognised force in Kenyan politics since his alleged involvement in a failed coup attempt against President Daniel Arap Moi in 1982. His links to the coup saw him imprisoned for six years before being released in February 1988 – only to be arrested again in September 1988 for involvement with the Kenya Revolutionary Movement, a movement pressing for multi-party democracy in Kenya.
He fled to Norway in October 1991, following his allegations of attempted government assassinations, and only returned to Kenya in 1992 to join the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD). After FORD's split in the run up to the 1992 elections, Raila became the Deputy Director of FORD-Kenya, led by his father. At this time, he also won the Langata Constituency Parliamentary seat which he still holds.
Raila left FORD-Kenya in 1996 to join the National Development Party, finishing third in the 1997 presidential elections. He then effected a merger between the NDP and Moi's Kenya African National Union (KANU) party. At this time, he also served as Energy Minister under Moi.
After being passed over for the 2002 presidential ticket, Raila left
KANU and formed the Rainbow movement, which took over the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) in late 2002. The coalition went on to join with the National Alliance of Kenya and eventually became the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC). Raila was a cabinet member under President Mwai Kibaki until November 2005, when the entire cabinet was sacked, with the whole of the LDP group excluded when it was reformed.
Raila then formed the Orange Democratic Movement and was elected as their presidential candidate in 2007, campaigning against President Kibaki. After losing by a narrow margin, Raila and many election observers challenged the results and accused the Electoral Commission of Kenya of fraud. Two months of unrest ensued until a power-sharing deal was brokered between Raila and Kibaki.
That led to the recreation of the post of Prime Minister, which had not existed in Kenya since 1964 when it was briefly held by Jomo Kenyatta and Raila was sworn in as Prime Minister on the 17 April 2008.