Oburu: How our disciplinarian mother shaped us

EALA MP Oburu Odinga with his brother ODM leader Raila at Orange House, 2014. [Tabitha Otwori, Standard]

East African Legislative Assembly Member of Parliament and ODM leader Raila Odinga’s elder brother Oburu Oginga has revealed how their no-nonsense disciplinarian mother shaped their lives.

According to Oburu, Mary Juma, their mother was the disciplinarian in the family whom they dreaded more than their own father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga.

Speaking in Kisumu during the launch of his autobiography “In the Shadow of My Father”, Oburu said their mother shaped their lives and inculcated in them honesty and discipline.

“Our mother was a ruthless disciplinarian. She used to cane us a lot every time we did something wrong,” said Oburu.

Although their father was a teacher, he said, he would only give them a few strokes of the cane whenever they wronged and prioritised dialogue while the mother didn’t spare the rod.

There were light moments as Oburu recounted how his brother Raila would argue with his mother most of the time when he was being punished.

ODM leader Raila Odinga and his brother Oburu at ST. Peters ACK Parish, Bondo,2018. [Denish Ochieng, Standard]

“Raila used to be beaten more than the rest of us because he would argue with my mother,” said Oburu.

Both Oburu and Raila consider their mother as a key pillar in their lives whose contribution and guidance modelled them into building strong personalities.

In the past, Raila has spoken passionately about his mother and how the news of her death when he was incarcerated in 1984 affected him. According to Raila, he only learnt about the demise of his mother from prison warders two months after her demise.

“There was a tree in front of our house who branches she would pluck and beat until she was tired,” said Oburu.

To them, that was the sign of a mother’s love. She wanted the best for her children.

Oburu and Raila Odinga ready to perform 'tero buru' at their fathers home, 1995. [Tabitha Otwori, Standard]

The book gives readers an insight into the political family.

During the event, several leaders praised the Odinga family for promoting good leadership even as they expressed optimism that the Azimio la Umoja movement will take over the country’s leadership in 2022.

Led by Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o (Kisumu) and Wilberforce Ottichillo (Vihiga), the leaders said that history witnessed in 1963 when the country attained independence and the 2002 general elections will be repeated in 2022.

“Every time nationalists come together to form a coalition, the country always progresses,” said Nyong’o.

Kisii Deputy Governor Joash Maangi who had previously been leaning towards Ruto’s camp but has now fully focused his attention on Raila’s camp said that they would rally the region behind the ODM chief.