I saw my father for the first time when I was 10- Raila Junior on difficult childhood

Raila Odinga Junior.

Businessman Raila Odinga Junior has opened up on the challenges he faced growing up as a child to Kenya’s Opposition leader, Raila Odinga.

According to Junior, his childhood was not easy as their father and grandfather (Jaramogi Oginga Odinga) were fighting for mulipartism.

Tough childhood

“I don’t like speaking much about my childhood as it was a very hard time due to the politics at the time. As you know, we had one party and my father and grandfather were fighting for a multi-party system.

“The effects used to trickle down to us even in school.”

Junior further revealed that he saw Raila for the first time when 10-years-old as he had been in detention.

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“I can’t remember well but I think I first saw my dad aged 10-years-old. He came home accompanied by many people and I wasn’t aware of what was happening.

“I was wondering ‘who’s this coming to my mum’s house?’” he narrated to Radio Jambo’s Massawe Japanni.

Raila Junior with Raila Odinga.

Pain of losing his brother Fidel

On January 4 2015, Junior’s eldest brother Fidel Odinga passed away at his Karen home. Speaking on Fidel’s death, Junior, an advocate for the legalisation of medicinal marijuana, divulged that it was hard on the family.

“It was very hard for us as it forced the family to adjust. Being the first-born, Fidel was the one who protected and led us (the children).

“His death forced us to grow up and learn things that he used to do. The thing I miss most about him is how he used to take care of us.”

Difficulty having children

A married man with kids, Junior disclosed how his wife Yvonne had difficulties conceiving for the first four years of their union.

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“I do have children but as per Luo customs, I can’t reveal the number. During the first years we really struggled to have a child. Eventually God blessed us with a baby boy,” he said, while urging couples undergoing similar situations to stick with each other and not give up hope.

Fidel and Yvonne.

Business

The businessman who owns a media production company that creates TV commercials also pointed out that despite his surname, he did not have an easy time establishing the company.

“I’ve invested in media production where I’m the executive producer. But the journey to the top was not easy because at the end of the day, clients have expectations.

“Due to my name, those expectations are much higher, compared to anyone else.”

He also clarified his push for the legalisation of marijuana in Kenya, stating that “I am pushing for the legalisation of marijuana, not for recreational use but for medicinal purposes. Bhang has a lot of medical use especially for patients with cancer. It’s not a cure but acts like a pain reliever.”


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