Time Ida Odinga and Family Were Thrown Out of Home

  • Raila Odinga poses with his family on January 3, 2017. Facebook
  • Ida Odinga and her children were once forcefully evicted from their house over links to dangerous mercenaries who were believed to be planning a major military coup.

    Back in 1982, Raila Odinga and his family used to live within Kenya High School in Kileleshwa, where Ida used to work as a geography teacher, one of her former students affirmed, while speaking to this writer.

    However, their lives changed soon after the failed coup of August 1982 - which led to Raila's incarceration and torture, as well as the forceful eviction of his entire family.

    "On the same day, Ida and our children were turned out of our home. Ida lost her job and was forced to retire in the public interest - and could only watch us all our belongings were thrown out of the house," Raila narrates in his 2013 autobiography titled The Flame of Freedom.

    Mama Ida Odinga with her grand kids during a past trip to Nairobi National Park. Back in 1982, the Odinga's were thrown out of the home at Kenya High School
    Mama Ida Odinga with her grandkids during a past trip to Nairobi National Park. Back in 1982, the Odingas were thrown out of their home at Kenya High School

    The security agencies had publicly declared Raila an enemy of the state, who was allegedly conspiring with a faction of disenfranchised former military men who were reportedly out to topple President Daniel arap Moi's government.

    Unknown to the rest of the family, Raila was being held against his will within the basement area at Nyayo House along Kenyatta Avenue in Nairobi, where he was subjected to a torturous ordeal.

    "There is nothing you can do in these terrible circumstances except to endure, hour after long hour, day after long day, night after never-ending night. Bruised and battered and aching all over, you sit, you stand, dressed only in your underwear, always soaking and always freezing cold. It was torture such as I never could have imagined," reads an excerpt from Raila's autobiography.

    His captors chipped away at him, hoping that he would sign a confession that would link him to disenfranchised Kenya Airforce officers who were reportedly being trained in Libya, in preparation for a mission to overthrow president Moi.

    It was at this point (September 1982) that Ida filed a habeas corpus - a court order requiring a person under arrest to be brought before a judge or into court, especially to secure the person's release unless lawful grounds are shown for their detention.

    Raila Odinga being arrested after the 1982 failed coup attempt.
    Raila Odinga being arrested after the 1982 failed coup attempt.

    This was her last-ditch move to track down her husband, who had been missing since August, after the entire family helplessly watched as their belongings tossed out of their home, due to their links to the opposition leader.

    "I am very indebted to Ida, and so grateful to her for her prompt action, for it curtailed my stay in Nyayo House dungeon, a veritable hell on earth," Raila narrates in his book.