Raila Narrates How Teachers Forced Him to Repeat 2 Classes

  • Raila Odinga speaking during a previous event. Facebook
  • ODM leader, Raila Odinga, in his memoir, The Flame of Freedom, recounted a time when teachers forced him to repeat two classes.

    Raila noted that it was his father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga's decision that his brother, Oburu Odinga and himself needed to be educated in their rural background and were transferred from Komulo School in Nyamira, to Maranda school in Siaya County. 

    Upon going to school, the duo was physically small compared to the other students. This, he stated, was because people in the villages would begin their education very late in rural schools.

    Jaramogi Oginga Odinga
    Kenya's first Vice President, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga

    "Oburu and I had already completed Standards One and Two at Komulo, and we assumed we would be going into Standard Three at Maranda. But we had started school at a comparatively young age and so were physically very small compared to our Standard Three classmates at Maranda.

    "The teachers decided we must go back and begin at standard One again. Some of our Standard One classmates were already shaving but they did not know anything," he conveyed in his book.

    Odinga divulged that some of his classmates were older than him by as much as 10 years.

    "Being put back to Standard One was a terrible blow for us. We had to go back to sitting under a tree, like pre-primary pupils. We could already write with a pencil and we could read but we had to learn with people who were completely illiterate and to go through the endless boredom of repeating work we had long since left behind.

    "We hated it. Nothing could have frustrated us more. The move to Bondo was a big upset in our lives and it put us two years behind our classmates in Kisumu, but Jaramogi could not be persuaded otherwise and we had to grin and bear it," he added.

    Oburu Odinga and Raila Odinga
    EALA MP Oburu Odinga (L) and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga

    The rural school was about three miles from their Bondo home in Siaya, and that was the first thing they disliked about it - having to walk there every day.

    They had to cross a seasonal stream that was sometimes dangerously swollen and forced them to turn back.

    Raila, however, found the positive in it adding that it gave them the opportunity to learn about their culture and traditions.