Rosemary Odinga Photo:Courtesy

Raila Odinga’s daughter Rosemary Odinga has narrated her battle with a brain tumour and suffering a stroke, leading to partial loss of her sight.

In an interview with Citizen TV’s Victoria Rubadiri, Rosemary explained that while with her children in Naivasha, she collapsed following constant headaches.

“I was called for breakfast and I couldn’t open the door… eventually, after knocking and opening the door, I just collapsed onto the help who was there,” recalls Rosemary.

She explains that after her collapse, her shocked daughters immediately called an ambulance to take her to Nairobi for treatment but considering the trip would have taken long, she declined.

“My older daughter ran to the clinic and they sent an ambulance which came and picked me up. Then they said we could drive to Nairobi but I said I couldn’t make it so they sent for a chopper which brought me to Nairobi,” she narrated.

Rosemary Odinga with I Love Africa, Korea Board president Lee Chang-ok and Carol Ochieng Photo:David Njaaga

Brain tumour diagnosis

Upon arrival at a hospital in Nairobi, the 41-year-old was diagnosed with aneurysm, an enlargement of an artery caused by weakness in the arterial wall and a brain tumour that was later on removed in China.

Rosemary refuted claims that she is totally blind saying that she can see through the right eye though not clearly while she's blind in the left eye.

“I don’t really see out of the left eye. I can see through the right eye but it’s foggy; it’s like looking through a glass with water in it. So I see mostly through the right eye but it’s half the vision, and I can see things that are very close to me,” she said.

She explained that it is not clear what caused her blindness but says she is looking for solutions that will restore her eyesight.

Emotional strain

According to the politician-cum-farmer, fitting into her new state was difficult as she ended up crying several times.

“I draw strength from my daughters… because of them, I’m alive. I said to myself, ‘if I give up now, what am I teaching them? Am I teaching them that whenever you have a hiccup in life to give up?’ And I said ‘No! I have to continue and try and be successful,” said Rosemary.

Fidel Odinga

Rosemary Odinga operating a sewing machine with I Love Africa, Korea Board president Lee Chang-ok Photo:David Njaaga

Rosemary recounted how she shared a close relationship with her late brother Fidel Odinga, narrating how he hosted her in USA and how it was fun being around him.

She did not rule out the possibility of making a comeback into politics if people give her the support.

“There are so many examples in the world of persons with disability who are able to provide leadership to the community and I’ll say what I’ve always said: if God gives me an opportunity, and people are willing to support me, then I’ll not shy away from a leadership position,” she stated.

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