5 People Raila Hangs Out With in Private

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  • ODM Party leader Raila Odinga is a man known to many as a champion of democracy since joining politics in the early 1980s.

    Even away from politics, Odinga has built a close network of close personalities ranging from active politicians to family members who ostensibly know the day to day life of the former politician.

    Dennis Onyango

    Onyango is a noticeable icon who has for long served as a communications director and spokesperson at the former prime minister’s secretariat.

    The close ally is a key stakeholder in Odinga’s media life where he reportedly books who can and can’t have an eye with the AU envoy. 

    Onyango was appointed as Odinga’s personal assistant in 2008, after Raila’s appointment as the prime minister following the 2007 General Election marred with violence.

    He is a trained journalist and uses his media skills to ensure Raila is not portrayed bad light, managing all press conferences by Odinga.

    ODM Party leader Raila Odinga(Centre), Raila's Spokesperson Dennis Onyango(Left) and other leaders after a meeting with Mt. Kenya leaders in Nairobi on January 23
    ODM Party leader Raila Odinga (centre), with his spokesperson Dennis Onyango (second left) after a meeting with Mt Kenya leaders in Nairobi on January 23, 2020.

    Paul Mwangi

    The renowned lawyer is a man known to be close to Raila since 2005, when he acted as an advocate in private practice and was the national legal adviser of the ‘No’ team that won overwhelmingly in the 2005 referendum.

    In 2011, he was Odinga’s legal affairs adviser. He pursued a law degree at the University of Nairobi.

    In 2017, Mwangi formed part of the legal team that saw Chief Justice David Maraga order for a repeat election for the presidential election in 2017.

    The lawyer was also appointed to the Building Bridging Initiative Taskforce as a joint secretary by Raila Odinga.

    Lawyers James Orengo and Paul Mwangi during the ballot printing case at Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi in July 2017
    Lawyers James Orengo and Paul Mwangi at Milimani Law Courts in Nairobi in July 2017

    Junet Mohamed

    The Suna East MP slowly grew to become a close ally to the former prime minister since his election in 2013 on an ODM Party ticket.

    In March 2018, Junet was among the two people who accompanied Raila when he met President Uhuru Kenyatta in a closed-door meeting which lasted close to three hours, bringing forth the popular handshake between the two enemies-cum-friends.

    Junet who started out as a shopkeeper in Migori Town is reportedly the closest confidant that Raila has today, slowly taking up the roles of former aides.

    After Raila’s announcement that he would boycott the repeat presidential polls in 2017, he went on a private trip and just before the five days trip ended, photos of Raila and the MP in Zanzibar emerged.

    A past photo of ODM party leader Raila Odinga and Suna East MP Junet Mohamed
    A past photo of ODM Party leader Raila Odinga and Suna East MP Junet Mohamed

    Raila Odinga Junior

    Junior is the lastborn in the Odinga family and more to family connections, Raila has lately been seen at public events with him. 

    In November 2019, Junior was seen as a key figure in the Kibra Constituency by-election that stamped authority for the ODM Party in the longtime Odinga stronghold.

    On Saturday, January 25,  2020, Junior accompanied his father to Mombasa County for the highly politicised BBI rally, raising eyebrows on whether he was being groomed to join politics. 

    Junior has also been vocal in supporting his father on social media, attracting a huge following with time.

    Winnie Odinga

    The second last child of the former prime minister has also proven to be a favourite for her father after appearing in various events together.

    In March 2018, Winnie was part of the two people who accompanied Odinga to a high-level meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta leading to the initiation of the popular handshake that later bore the BBI report.

    “I have worked for my father for as long as I can remember. I’m his bodyguard, his briefcase carrier, travel companion or even driver if need be,” remarked Winnie in a past media interview.

    She graduated with a degree in political science at Drexel University in Philadelphia, US in 2013 in an event attended by her father and mother Ida. 

    James Orengo

    The Siaya senator is one of Odinga’s long-time friends, having worked together in the fight for multi-party politics and democracy in the early 1990s.

    Despite their current cordial relationship, Orengo had been in squabbles with Raila in various instances occasioned by the different stands they earlier picked but always found a way to make up. 

    The most notable disagreement between the two was in 2002, when Raila chose to support Mwai Kibaki for the presidential position leaving Orengo to vie on an SDP ticket where he lost both the presidency and the Ugenya Constituency seat.

    Despite this, Raila resurfaced to support Orengo for the Ugenya seat in 2007, following a stiff challenge posed by Steve Mwanga. 

    Orengo emerged victorious and Raila went ahead to appoint him to the Cabinet in the Grand Coalition Government. 

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