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Rosemary Odinga Biography, Political Career, Family

 Rosemary Odinga Biography

Rosemary Odinga was born in 19th August 1977. She is an entrepreneur, an advocate for alternative agriculture and proponent of social equality. She is known for being the only snail farmer in East Africa. 

Rosemary Odinga is  an advocate for equality to give citizens a sense of parity in accessing public services . Since June 2015 , she has been  the patron of Key Empowerment Foundation Kenya, she has been at the forefront of facilitating youth and women apply for birth certificates and ID cards to enable them fully access government services. Thousands of Kenyans have successfully applied for ID cards and birth certificates through this initiative.

Rosemary Odinga Early Life

Rosemary Odinga and her brothers Fidel Castro (now deceased) and Raila Junior were born and brought up in the middle class suburb of Kileleshwa and started school at the private Kilimani Junior Academy. Their lives were turned upside down by the abortive coup in 1982. and the crackdown on political dissent in Kenya which followed. Five days before her 5th birthday in Rosemary was separated from her father when he was arrested and detained without trial by the then President Moi. Her father was freed and detained again three times between 1982 and 1990. While Rosemary’s father was in imprisoned, her family’s lifestyle worsened, as her mother Ida (a high school teacher in a government school) was unable earn enough to sustain the lifestyle they were accustomed to.

When her mother decided to transfer Rosemary and her siblings to a public school to economise, no public school principal would accept them for fear of reprisal from the authoritarian Moi regime. But with the help of their grandfather Jaramogi, Rosemary and her brothers secured admission to the Catholic Church run Consolata Primary School in Westlands. At Consolata Rosemary converted from Anglicanism to the Roman Catholic Church.

Rosemary and her siblings spent their childhood and teenage years without the presence of their father who was in and out of detention for the better parts of the 1980s. The family also bore the brunt of the excesses of the Moi regime as the now sole breadwinner, Ida also endured several arrests. Their home was raided and ransacked dozens of times by officers from the dreaded Special Branch.

In school Rosemary and her siblings were unhappy, as some classmates avoided playing with them. Children from their neighbourhood also avoided them, after being warned not to socialise with them by their parents. Rosemary and her brothers spent most of their playing time in an informal settlement within the Kileleshwa Estate where the kids were friendlier and more welcoming.

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Rosemary Odinga Politics

Rosemary Odinga, eldest daughter of Cord leader Raila Odinga has expressed interest in joining politics and decided to vie for the Kibra parliamentary seat, which her father held for two decades.

It is understood that family members have been putting pressure on Rosemary to join politics in 2017 and not 2022, as she had planned following the death of her elder brother Fidel Odinga.

Rosemary Odinga Achievement

She is  the Executive Director of Raila Odinga Center (ROC), a foundation that focuses on providing education scholarships in East Africa, training young leaders and developing youth sports talents.

She is a Member of the Global Chinese Business Future Leaders Club and Global Peace Foundation.

She is  actively involved in boys’ mentor ship programs and is currently the Patron of the Upper Hill School Rugby Union Club.

Rosemary Odinga Leadership

Having the fortune or misfortune of being born into a political family, Rosemary naturally engaged in politics from a very tender age. In 1990 and barely in her teens, she wrote an open letter to then President Moi asking him to release her father and other political detainees from prison. The letter was published in the then influential Society Magazine.

When her father first ran for parliament in 1992 in Langata Constituency in Nairobi, the then 14 year old Rosemary would accompany him for door-to-door campaigns in the sprawling Kibera slums. During the same time, she also attended several rallies by the Forum for the Restoration of Democracy (FORD Kenya) where her grandfather was the presidential candidate for the 1992 elections.

After returning for studies abroad in 2007 Rosemary joined her father’s presidential campaigns where she played a key role in the communications department. In 2013, Rosemary was also involved in the CORD coalition election campaigns as a member of the ‘Nairobi for Raila’ lobby group. Rosemary is a member of the International Young Leaders Association (IYLA). She attended their conference at the UN Assembly Hall in New York where she also gave a keynote address in August 2015.

She also represented her party, ODM, during the Liberal International Congress in both Belfast 2008 and Mexico in 2015. Odinga also spoke at the World Eminent Chinese Business Association in Beijing in 2015.

Rosemary Odinga Family

Rosemary Odinga is the second born of Raila Omolo Odinga and Ida Odinga. She is the sister to Fidel Odinga, Winnie Odinga and Raila Odinga Jr.

Rosemary Odinga Marriage/ Divorce

It is not clear whether Rosemary Odinga legally separated with his husband as the man is said to have moved back to the US where they met while Rosemary was studying.

Rosemary Odinga Photo

Rosemary Odinga Photos

Rosemary Odinga Photos

Rosemary Odinga Snail Business

Snail meat is tantalising and super nutritious. Before you say “yuck”, read on. Not only is the meat amazingly sweet (it tastes like fried gizzard dipped in butter) it has a high demand from the high-end market that is so huge; farmers who have ventured into it cannot satisfy that market.

Now, before you dash to your farm to collect all those random snails that have been ravaging your crops, find out what it takes to be a successful snail farmer. Smart Harvest caught up with Rosemary Odinga the only one of her kind in Kenya (according to Kenya Wildlife Service, which issues the license).

So how did she slide into this venture?

“I started this project as a hobby in 2007. Before I started, I had gone to Nigeria where I had the privilege of visiting former Nigerian president Olesegun Obasanjo. He is one of the biggest snail farmers there. He is the one who challenged me to think about farming. He was so convincing with the snail farming, I promised to do something when I came back home.” says Rosemary, eldest daughter of former Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

When she came back home, she did intense research on the same.

“I visited the University of Nairobi and met one Musombi (now deceased) a snail expert who was passionate about snail farming. I learnt everything from the types of snails, to their behaviours, ideal environment, feeding, breeding, market potential plus more. He saw my passion and volunteered to act as my mentor.” To start off, Musombi donated to Rosemary13 snails, the giant African land snail.

“As expected with new farmers, all the snails died save for two. I think they were exposed to heat, which is a no-no for them. Actually, snails thrive in cool temperatures and wet surfaces. That is why they multiply during the rainy season.

” To avoid such blunders, she constructed a greenhouse in her 25-acre farm in Kiserian and placed the two surviving ones there.

Within three months, they multiplied and were so many, I started donating to my friends who were foreigners. A French restaurant heard about my venture and placed orders. That is how the venture began to thrive,” says the mother of two.

Rosemary Odinga also brought on board three farmhands to help with the extra workload. Now she has 3,000 snails at various stages of their lives. Her farm Shelltops Ltd, packs the slimy creatures in 160gram bags (contains 24 pieces).

“The orders from high-end hotels became so overwhelming, I could not meet it. Because of the pressure, I decided to just focus on individual clients who comprise expatriates and Kenyans of foreign origin. But I also supply to a few upmarket restaurants,” she says.

Irresistible as snail farming may sound, Rosemary is quick to offer a disclaimer.

“I know this thing may have all dynamics of a quail project — zero capital, zero labour, an ever ready market and profits pap! Far from it. There are several steps a farmer has to go through before they can say be allowed to rear snails,” Rosemary shares.

First, a farmer has to obtain a license from Kenya Wildlife Service because the creatures are categorised as wild. And before KWS issues you with that license, you have to demonstrate that you have the knowledge and capacity to rear them.

“To meet those stringent KWS standards, I used to work closely with the late Musombi. I am also in constant touch with Obasanjo, who is like my mentor. He always calls to check how I am fairing on with the project. When he visits Kenya, he always passes by my farm.”

After passing that test, the next challenge for the farmer is getting a conducive place for the creatures.

There are different ways of rearing snails, the free range system. This is basically placing the snails in a shamba as opposed to a closed structure like a greenhouse.

If one chooses to go the greenhouse system, one has to get containers like basins, which are to be filled with soil and sprinkled with water to keep the soil moist.

“You do not just get ordinary soil. There is a special one that I buy then I ‘enrich’ it. Prior to commencing the project, the environment on which the snails develop remains ideal.

” Rosemary Odinga has equipped herself with all info snails, she talks snails like a Maths professor cracking complex algebra formulae.

“Snails are hermaphrodites, meaning they have both male and female sexual organs. There are different types of snails Giant African Land Snail – Achatina fulica, Garden Snail – Helix aspersa and Roman Snail – Helix pomatia. Each category has different species, for instance, under the Giant African Land snail, there is the Achatina Achatina from West Africa, Achatina Marginata from West Africa and Achatina Fulica from East Africa. The species vary in body features like size, the shell and the general structure.

Rosemary Odinga specialises in Achatina Fulica from East Africa.

The creatures feed on vitamins so their diet comprise kales, cabbages and fruits like paw paw.

To ensure that the snails thrive and breed well, there are certain aspects that a farmer must get right.

“One is the temperature. Snails thrive in cool moist environs. They hate the sun. The soil type must also be right and contain the nutrients they need. That is why a farmer cannot just scoop soil from his farm, put in a basin and dump the snails. The soil has to be specially treated,” she explains.

When being packaged for sale, chicken and livestock are slaughtered, so how are snails prepared before they hit the market?

“Some people kill them by placing them in boiled water while others suffocate them. For us, we do not use ‘crude’ methods because our clients are sensitive and they would not eat the meat if they knew that the animal was butchered like that. I will not divulge that secret but let me just say we do it in a “special way’ which adheres to international standards,” she says with a chuckle.

So what would she tell young people who would want to venture into snail farming?

“Snail farming is lucrative, but there are very strict requirement from Kenya Wildlife Service. This is not just something you jump in; you have to read extensively to know snails in and out,” she says.

“Having said that, I would like to encourage them to do their research and embrace unique projects. They should look beyond the obvious.”

Parting shot?

“I believe engaging in farming is a sign of patriotism because one is contributing towards food security. The government should put in place policies that encourage young people to take up farming as an economic activity,” says Rosemary Odinga.  (Adopted From Standard Newspaper)


Rosemary Odinga bows out of Kibra MP race, cites medical grounds

Update: 24.4.2017

To The People Of Kibra Constituency,

Over the past 30 years I have fallen in love with the people of Kibra. You have walked hand in hand with my family, we have laughed together, and we have mourned together. I must say, the past two years have been the honour of my life getting to engage in the place known as the ‘Heart Beat’ of Kenyan politics, not only as a voter but also as a competitor. The spirit of the people of Kibra and their passion for justice has always inspired us as a family to champion their interests both in and out of parliament.

It is following my doctor’s advice, that for the time being, I will continue serving my community in other capacities and regrettably bow out of the race for Member of Parliament. I would like to thank each and every person that supported my bid and the people of Kibra for opening their hearts and homes to me. I will forever cherish your outpouring love and prayers.

To my sisters, brothers, mothers and fathers of Kibra, we always knew the journey was not and will not be easy. You are known the world over for standing up for what you believe is right, do not let anyone extinguish that flame. Keep going, keep the fire burning and on August 8th 2017, make your voice heard loud and clear and change Kenya for the better.
God bless you all.

Yours always,
Rosemary Akeyo Odinga.

Rosemary Odinga Bows Out of Kibra MP Race – Video

Rosemary Odinga flown to South Africa for treatment

Update: 28.2.2017

Rosemary Odinga, the daughter of Opposition leader Raila Odinga, was Tuesday 28.01.2017 flown to South Africa for further treatment.

She had been admitted to the Aga Khan Hospital in Nairobi for more than a week. She is expected to undergo surgery at an undisclosed hospital to remove a tumor in her brain, an official said.

The family doctor, Oluoch Olunya, a renowned neurosurgeon, accompanied her. Rosemary was admitted to hospital on February 18 after she complained of a headache.

Rosemary Odinga has brain tumor, to undergo surgery

Update: 21.2.2017

Kibra MP aspirant Rosemary Odinga has a brain tumor but it is non-cancerous, a source within the hospital has told the Star.

Rosemary, Cord leader Raila Odinga’s second born, was admitted at Agha Khan University Hospital on Friday with a headache, and moved to Nairobi Hospital on Sunday.

The source said she had been in the hospital’s Intensive Care Unit before she was moved back to Aga Khan on Monday morning.

A doctor at The Aga Khan, who spoke to the Star in confidence, said Rosemary has meningioma, a brain tumor that is not life-threatening but applies pressure to the brain.

A meningioma is not harmless as it can cause blindness, problems with movement and multiple other complications as it grows and presses into the brain

It is not immediately life-threatening but remains a serious threat to Rosemary’s health, as it in the meninges – the lining between the brain and the skull.

Rosemary is being examined by two surgeons who will decide if she should undergo surgery. The removal of the tumor involves lengthy neurosurgery and is followed by radiotherapy.

Other sources close to Rosemary said her hospital records were untraceable and that only family members were allowed to visit.

Rosemary, 39, is functionally the first born following the death of her older brother Fidel on January 4, 2015.

She is followed by Winnie Odinga and Raila Odinga Jnr who is the last born.

Rosemary announced in January that she will vie for Kibra MP in the August 8 general election

Her father was the Lang’ata MP before the constituency was split into Kibra and Lang’ata.

Rosemary is known for being the only snail farmer in East Africa.

Since June 2015, as the patron of Key Empowerment Foundation Kenya, she has been at the forefront of facilitating youth and women to apply for and get birth certificates and ID cards to enable them fully access government services.

Rosemary Odinga Admitted Hospital

Update: 20.2.2017

Cord leader Raila Odinga’s daughter Rosemary Odinga has been admitted at the Nairobi Hospital.

It is not yet clear what she is suffering from but sources close to the family say she was admitted at the Agha Khan hospital on Friday after she complained of a headache.

She was later transferred to Nairobi Hospital on Sunday.

The sources said only immediate family members are being allowed to visit.

We will give you more details on this story later.

Source: The Star