31 December, 2007

Raila Odinga

Mention the name Raila Odinga and you are met with all kinds of reactions. Some writers coined the terms 'Raila Phobia' and 'Raila Mania' to describe the sorts of reactions he gets when interacting with the public. Most of his life has been served in the public service, as a university lecturer, as a civil rights activist, and as a member of parliament.
Raila was first elected as an MP for Langata constituency of Langata, Nairobi, in 1992. He has retained the seat in subsequent elections in 1997 and 2002.
He has been in different parties, in Ford-Kenya, in the National Democratic Party where he started his co-operation with Moi's government and where he was appointed minister for energy.
He later defected to the Liberal Democratic Party, one of the coalition partenrs of the National Rainbow Coalition (Narc) that won the 2002 general election and broke Kanu’s stranglehold on power since Independence in 1963. He was then appointed minister for roads, public works, and housing. However, he was dropped from the cabinet at the end of 2005, following his support for the 'No' vote in the constitutional referendum.
He endured three periods of detention without trial, for a total of eight years, six of them spent in solitary confinement.
Langata Constituency, which he represents, has one of the biggest slums in Africa. He is largely criticised for not doing much to improve Kibera's squalid conditions. His supporters however say he has initiated several poverty-alleviation and education projects, including Kibera slum upgrading and the Raila Education Centre. From: Nationmedia
More on Raila Odinga: Personal Site, Wikipedia, The Standard, New Vision, Africa Data Base, BBC, Reuters, Financial Times, Guardian, Topix, Books, News
Image: Raila2007

Search Safari Notes