Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Kenyan independence leader dies

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Thursday, 20 January 1994

Jaramogi Oginga Odinga was born in Bondo, Nyanza Province in Kenya in 1912. Odinga was a member of the second largest ethnic group in Kenya, the Luo. He entered politics in 1947 and soon found himself a staunch supporter of then political leader, Jomo Kenyatta. When Kenya gained independence in 1963, Kenyatta became president and Odinga vice-president.  However, Odinga, dissatisfied with the government’s policies and its increasing move away from democracy, resigned to form his own opposition party.

The new party, Kenya People’s Union (KPU) was constantly harassed and its activities sabotaged by the government. In his quest for democracy, he formed the National Democratic Party (NDP) but Kenyatta’s government refused to recognise the party. Daniel Arap Moi took over the presidency after Kenyatta’s death and managed to convince Odinga to come back to the ruling party, Kenya African National Union (KANU). The reunion was brief as once again, Odinga left to form the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD). The new organisation proved successful in forcing the government to allow for opposition parties. Odinga died on 20 January 1994 at the age of 92.

References:
• Answers, Oginga Odinga, from Answers, [online], Available at www.answers.com [Accessed: 14 January 2014]
• Independent, Obituary: Oginga Odinga, from The Independent, [online], Available at www.independent.co.uk [Accessed: 14 January 2014]

Last updated : 16-Jan-2014

This article was produced for South African History Online on 16-Jan-2014