The name Odinga is synonymous with opposition politics in Kenya. Starting with the firebrand Jaramogi Oginga Odinga who served as Kenya first Vice President before a bitter fall out with founding father Mzee Jomo Kenyatta. Although derided by members of the Mt Kenya community, it was Jaramogi who delayed independence from British colonial masters as he demanded for the release of Kenyatta from detention. That was in 1958 when such remarks were deemed treasonable.
Their relationship thawed and by 1966 Jaramogi had formed his own political outfit. The Kenya People’s Union (KPU) birth was the beginning of longstanding political supremacy battles between the Kenyattas’ and Odingas’. The doyen of Kenya opposition politics, Jaramogi Oginga, was detained in 1969 for being in an illegal party by the man he defended with unmatched passion.
He was released in 1971 and banished to political obscurity-or the government of the day thought-by denying him from running for elective office. With the death of Kenyatta and the ascendancy of Daniel Toroitich arap Moi to the presidency, Jaramogi trained his guns on the second President after his regime became increasingly dictatorial.
Oginga, who enjoyed a cult like following in his Nyanza bastion, played a key role in ensuring Kenya came out of the yoke of Moi’s single party regime. His death in 1994 propelled his son, Raila Odinga, to the big stage and he did not disappoint.
The man who has been fondly referred to as Tinga, Agwambo, Baba-and at times, rather derogatory, as Vitendawili (riddles), Mganga-had is fair share of tribulations as he took Moi’s dictatorial regime heads on. Raila contribution to the freedoms Kenyans enjoy today is immeasurable.
Raila, like his father, had (and still does have) a national appeal. His influence stretches from the shores of lake victory to the coastlines of Mombasa. He has been viewed as the champion of the underprivileged; a man who has fought to liberate the majority from the stranglehold of the GEMA elite.
While the presidency has remained elusive, Raila continues to be a main player in Kenyan politics. The ‘handshake’, or handcheque if you ask Miguna Miguna, lifted the country from the edge of a civil strife. This unexpected move to work with President Uhuru Kenyatta caught many NASA supporters by surprise.
This new alliance that has brought the two most powerful families together only means that their respective businesses will see exponential growth. Raila, for example, lifted a ban he had imposed on services and products associated with the Kenyatta family at the height of the resistance rhetoric in NASA zones.
The Odingas’ have, like most politicians, amassed considerable wealth over the years.
What is the net worth of Raila Odinga?
The early and mid 60s saw unprecedented greed for land by politicians. Kenyatta hived large tracts of land for himself and his family members. This extended to his cabinet ministers, provincial commissioners, district commissioners and whoever was close to Kenyatta. His vice president Jaramogi Oginga was not left behind. He acquired 932 acres and 401 acres in Nyanza Province in 1964 and 1965 respectively through his Lu Thrift and Trading Company.
240 acres where the molasses plant sits
5 acres in Embakassi
Spectre International Ltd-Kisumu Molasses Factory-Loss making
How did Raila Odinga acquire the Kisumu molasses plant? Like many projects initiated during the Moi regime, Kisumu molasses (then known as Kenya Chemical & Food Corporation Ltd) had degenerated into another white elephant and a total waste of public funds. The project was a failure and barely five years after its inauguration in 1977, it closed shop. It was anticipated that the project would produce power alcohol out of waste from sugar production. With the project on its dead bed and the government aware that it would lose kes135 million-a substantial amount back then-for the next ten years, they decided to put it under receivership.
It took Raila Odinga, through Spetre International Ltd, five years to acquire the plant after it was first put into auction in 1996. On June 9, 1999, Spetre-representing Raila-agreed to pay kes 120 million. The sale agreement was drawn on October 11, 2001 and signed four days later. The land question that had stalled the first deal was resolved and Spetre International parted with Kes 3,699,750. Kisumu Molasses plant has not been profitable and has amassed debts after Energem went bankrupt. See spetre International shareholders.
East African Spectre, the liquefied petroleum gas cylinder manufacturer
Not to be confused with Spetre International, this has been one of the most successful companies associated with the Odinga family. The company that manufactures and refurbishes gas cylinders has, however, been facing stiff competition from imported cheap gas cylinders. This informed the company’s decision to set up Sh300 million fuel depot in Nairobi’s Embakasi area to remain profitable as orders for new cylinders continue to dip. The strategy shift mooted in 2014, will see the five acre piece of land where the project will be located holding ten million litres each of diesel and petrol and half that capacity of kerosene. It will also accommodate an LPG storage plant with a capacity 500 metric tones of gas.
Pan African Petroleum Ltd
A successful business venture, the Pan African Petroleum Ltd deals with the distribution and importation of petroleum products in the East African region. Its turnover is anywhere in the region of Kes500 million.
Properties Owned Raila Odinga
Some of the above named companies are owned by Raila Odinga and his extended family. We take a look at what the former Prime Minister owns away from his extended family.
Raila makes the list of the 50 Kenyans who own choppers. He has two choppers which he used extensively made use of during the last general election. The Airbus Helicopter is estimated to have cost the Opposition chief a cool kes $2 million (or roughly Sh204,800,000).
Raila Odinga has several homes as is expected of a man of his stature. His Kisumu house is said to be worth kes1 billion.
He has two houses in the leafy suburbs of Karen and Runda.
The former premier also has a holiday home in Mombasa.
Blogger Robert Alai, who at one time was a staunch Raila supporter turned harsh critic (turned Ally), put the net worth of Raila Odinga at kes 3 trillion. His tweet and I quote read:
“After recent government audit, Raila’s personal wealth is found to be in excess of kshs 3 trillion. Does it reflect in the life of his constituents? In 2007 alone, one country (German) gave him khs110 billion. He never invested the amount in campaigns”
A section of Kenyans led by Miguna Miguna, who was twice deported for swearing in the ODM leader as peoples president, allege that Raila received over 50 billion for the handshake with Uhuru Kenyatta.
But what does Raila Have To Say About His Networth
In an interview aired on NTV late last year, the ODM leader rubbished reports circulating on the media suggesting that he was filthy rich. Raila said he had not inherited anything from his father, Jaramogi Oginga, who “died a very poor person. He was in the government for only two and a half years. We have inherited very little from him.”
He went on to state that he started his own business “which is employing people in Industrial Area in Nairobi. Whatever we have done is in very good faith. We have invested in the molasses industry which is not working right now as the sugar mills are not working.”
On his wealth, the opposition doyen said he was only worth kes2 billion with his Karen house valued at kes300 million.
“That is not very rich. That (Sh2 billion) is in terms of properties,” he added.