Reference Entry

Odinga, Oginga 1911?–1994 Kenyan nationalist and first vice president of Kenya.

Robert Fay

in Africana: The Encyclopedia of the African and African American Experience, Second Edition

Published in print January 2005 | ISBN: 9780195170559
Odinga, Oginga 1911?–1994 Kenyan nationalist and first vice president of Kenya.

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After his death in 1994, Oginga Odinga was described by Kenyan President Daniel Arap Moi as a “patriotic citizen,” ironic praise for a man who spent most of his career in opposition to the government. As Moi also noted, Odinga was a nationalist as well, a teacher who became a leading member of the independence struggle while president of the Luo Union from 1952to1957 . In addition, he was one of the first Africans to be directly elected to the colonial government’s legislative council.In 1960 Odinga, with fellow Luo Tom Mboya, founded the Kenya African National Union (KANU). After Kenya achieved independence in December 1963 he served briefly in Jomo Kenyatta’s administration, first as minister for home affairs and then as vice president. But Odinga’s political beliefs lay considerably to the left of Kenyatta’s, and in 1966 he resigned to form the Kenya People’s Union (KPU). In 1969 Kenyatta banned the KPU and placed Odinga in detention for two years. After his release, he was blocked from political office until Moi “rehabilitated” him in the early 1980s.Odinga then became an outspoken critic of Moi and a leading agitator for multiparty elections, earning an expulsion from KANU in 1982. In 1988 he organized the Forum for Restoration of Democracy (FORD-Kenya), and in 1992 he was that party’s candidate in Kenya’s first multiparty presidential election in which he finished third. He was the official leader of the opposition in parliament until his death in 1994.

Reference Entry.  258 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History

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