Winnie Odinga, Raila Odinga‘s youngest daughter, has been the talk of the town lately after being nominated to the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA) by the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party.
Probably one of the most trusted children of the former Prime Minister, Winnie has in several occasions been seen with his father in political rallies.
In a recent interview, she termed her father as a symbol of hope that would have gotten many people out of a desperate situation.
“This is where I come from. These are my people and it’s difficult to let them down because, for a lot of them, Raila Odinga was hope out of a desperate or pathetic situation,” she said.
Away from being the daughter of a senior politician, few Kenyans know the real Winnie Odinga beyond the media lens. We explore the finer details of the 32-year-old politician, poised to become one of the youngest legislators at EALA.
Winnie Odinga is the youngest child of ODM leader Raila Odinga and Mama Ida Odinga, born on March 6, 1990. The fiery and articulate young woman bore the name Winnie Mandela in honour of the late apartheid hero and ex-wife of the late South African President Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela. Her mother gave her the autobiography of the person she was named after when she was 11 years old. Along with other literature, this provided her with a wealth of ideas that helped to define her outlook on life.
Winnie Odinga is Raila and Ida Odinga’s fourth and last child. She has three older siblings: Raila Junior, Rosemary, and the late Fidel Odinga. She spent most of her childhood years by herself because her siblings were much older than she was. Only Raila Junior, who is 11 years older than her, was in her age range. Winnie Odinga is not yet married.
After attending Rusinga School, Winnie attended Brookhouse High School. She went on and acquired a bachelor’s degree in Corporate Communication and International Business from the University of Pennsylvania.
Winnie revealed that she serves as her father’s bodyguard, briefcase bearer, travel companion, and occasionally driver. She has a passion for photography, and while still in school, she established a photography business.
The 32-year-old has frequently been asked about her aspirations to follow in her father’s footsteps and enter politics. Winnie has consistently answered “no,” adding that she does not think it would suit her since she does not believe in a political career but rather in those who choose to be politicians because they perceive a need that they can fill in the system. But things seem to be changing, fast.
She disclosed that she worked in the energy industry. She thought that almost everything in the nation is powered by energy and that energy is the first step in any meaningful progress. Hers focuses on encouraging the use of renewable energy sources and supporting young advocacy for climate action.
According to Winnie, the ODM party’s recent decision to select her for the EALA position is appropriate given her qualifications. Winnie stated that because she satisfies the requirements to run for the office, she, like any other typical Kenyan, was justified in being included in the nominations.
“Why not me? All the conditions for EALA I have, I have passed and achieved all of them, so why not me? I had not applied for EALA nor was I thinking of taking that step,” she said.
“This is not an issue of political belief, it is an issue of representation of the country. I am getting really good feedback from both sides of the House, perhaps more enthusiastic than on the other side (Kenya Kwanza).”
As a result, she chastised naysayers who minimised her nomination because of her family history, repeating that anyone qualified to represent Kenyans regardless of where they are from was needed for the post. She exuded confidence in her abilities and called out opponents who discounted her nomination because of her family background.
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