Raila's Accident That Resulted in Facial Surgery

  • ODM leader, Raila Odinga, is a man who has undergone various painful ordeals, either being tortured, locked in jail and even at one time in 2010, he knocked his head on a car door, which led to a head surgery.

    While young, about 5-years-old, a cheeky Raila had an accident while climbing trees and playing with his elder brother, Oburu Odinga, and other friends. The accident, according to Raila in his book, Flames of Freedom, left a scar on his body.

    "We used to climb the trees that edged the field. We would climb on to a branch and then cry out for help, saying we were stuck and about to fall.

    "Others would go running off to get the adults, who would come running on a rescue mission, only to have us delightedly shout 'chali!', a Luo word for 'got you!'). Of course, they were annoyed," Raila recounted.

    However, one day, while on top of a mango tree and genuinely terrified, Raila's friends assumed him, claiming that he was fooling around. He lost control of his grip and fell terribly, hurting his lip and bled profusely.

    "One day, I had climbed high on a mango tree and was in genuine distress and frantically calling out for help. My playmates were all laughing at me: They claimed that they were not stupid for I always did that. Suddenly the branch broke and I fell.

    "Under the mango tree was a dead orange tree that had snapped off, leaving sharp stumps. I caught my chin on it and tore my lower lip. It removed all my baby teeth at the bottom and left a scar below my lip that I still have today. I was lucky - I could have lost an eye - but the wound bled copiously and the others came running and started wailing in terror," Raila recalled. 

    Oburu then held Raila by his hand and led him to their house, both of them weeping uncontrollably - Raila because of the pain and Oburu in sympathy of his wounded brother. Another boy, Ramzan, taunted the two of them, imitating their wailing.

    Luckily for Raila, his uncle Ating'a, happened to be passing by and on hearing the noise, went into the house to find out what was happening.

    "He had a bicycle and pedalled me to Nyanza General Hospital, in the centre of Kisumu, where I was taken to the theatre for stitching. I was unable to chew for several days," Raila divulged. 

    At that moment, Raila and his brother were living in Kisumu with their father, Jaramogi Oginga, while their mother, Mary Juma, was in Bondo, looking after their home farm.