Ida Odinga is married to Raila Odinga, a former prime minister and the current party leader of Orange Democratic Movement. However, she is more than that. She has lived, loved, lost, conquered and is still a pillar of strength in the society. In 2010, a story appearing on The Standard named her among the most powerful women in Kenya.
Over the years, she has been involved in so many projects-including but not limited to-breast cancer and fistula awareness campaigns. She has also mentored a number of school girls and is also a big sponsor in the building of a state of the art library in her former high school. The ODM leader’s wife was able to raise Ksh176.9 million to build a 500-student capacity library
In 2021, she was given an award in recognition for her great support towards health, education, women, peace, as well as boy and girl child empowerment. The award was organized by Hekima Kaka society at Villa Rosa Kempinski.
Here is her story as told by WoK.
Ida Betty Odinga (born Ida Anyango Oyoo) was born on 24th August 1950.
She pursued a Bachelor of Education Arts Degree at the University of Nairobi. Prior to joining the University of Nairobi, she was a student at Ogande Girls High School.
Ida was raised in a family of six children. Her father was a successful medical doctor in Kisii while her mother worked as a nurse. The family was living a fairly good life until her father passed away when she was seven. The death of their father made their lives difficult. Nonetheless, their mother was determined to bring them up into responsible adults.
Ida Odinga began her career as a teacher at the Kenya High School– a public girls national school with a history of exemplary performance. For more than two decades, she held this position and was a teacher to students who rose to be powerful women in the country including the late governor of Bomet county Joyce Laboso.
Her husband on the other hand was one of the most vocal fighters of democracy during the KANU regime, something that alienated him from the government and made life for his family difficult. The effects of antagonising the government were felt by his family as well, especially after Ida was expelled from teaching due to her husband’s political stand.
In 1991, she founded the league of Kenyan women voters, which aimed at promoting opportunities for women in the political field.
In 2003, she became the managing director of the East African Spectre, a liquefied gas company. This made her one of the first women in the country to hold a major leadership role in the company.
Ida and Raila Odinga met at the University of Nairobi. Ida previously confessed that marrying a politician or anyone affiliated with politics was not in her plans. When she met Raila, she knew she was marrying an engineer.
Little did she know that her husband was going to be one of the most renowned politicians in Kenya. Together, they had four children but lost their first born Fidel Odinga a few years ago. At one point, she raised her children single handedly when Raila was detained by the Moi government in 1982.