Thursday, May 14, 2020 – Below is a rare photo of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga posing with his mother.

Raila’s mother, Mary Juma Odinga, died in 1984 while he was in detention.

He came to learn about her death 2 months after she was buried.

As you admire this rare photo, here are some things that you probably didn’t know about Raila’s mother.

1. Hailed from Alego

Also mother to former Bondo lawmaker and Raila’s elder brother Oburu Odinga, Mary was a native of Alego, now classified under Alego Usonga constituency in Siaya County, not far from Oginga’s Bondo home.

2. Was very fierce

She was also a no-nonsense lady, at one point in the 1950s roughly confronted a teacher at Maranda Primary school when he punished both Raila and Oburu for missing school.

The teacher had gone ahead to punish the two despite their mother having secured permission for them two days prior.

She then directed them to stay home, and look after their siblings as she attended a relative’s funeral in Alego.

When the two lamented upon her return, she went for the teacher and severely scolded him for failing to honor their deal.

3. Deserted Oginga twice

Also, Juma at some point deserted Jaramogi following a domestic spat, fleeing to her ancestral home.

This happened shortly after Oburu’s birth in 1943, and when she could not accept Jaramogi’s directives on how to wash and breastfeed the baby, she took off. 

“I gave her a timetable by which she was to suckle, wash and care for the child.” Oginga writes in his book ‘Not Yet Uhuru’.

She stayed away for six months.

On another occasion, she sneaked out on Oginga as he tried to get the two and another of their brothers baptized.

The task was tough as he did not want any English baptism name for them, opting for Luo tittles.

This happened at the Church Mission Society in Maseno where Reverend Simon Nyende completely refused to baptize the two.

Mary moved out and left Oginga to shoulder the burden of ferrying the boys back to Bondo.

Oginga would later add 3 more wives namely Gaudencia Adeya, Susan Agik and Betty Adongo, in that order. 


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