Rosemary: Being Raila’s daughter - Daily Nation

Rosemary: Being Raila’s daughter

Sunday April 10 2016

Rosemary Odinga is a snail farmer. An entrepreneur. An advocate for social justice and a supporter of youth empowerment and development. PHOTO | CPOURTESY

Rosemary Odinga is a snail farmer. An entrepreneur. An advocate for social justice and a supporter of youth empowerment and development. PHOTO | CPOURTESY 

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Who is Rosemary Odinga? Tell us about yourself?

Rosemary is a mother of two lovely girls. A snail farmer. An entrepreneur. An advocate for social justice and a supporter of youth empowerment and development. I am also the patron of Upper Hill School Rugby team.

Why snails?

Snails are nurtured, bred and eaten. I chose snail farming as my way of earning a living because I found them fascinating. Though a rewarding business venture, they can be a menace.

What was life like growing up?

I would say eventful like a yoyo. As you may be aware, my father was first detained just days to my fifth birthday. Regular police raids at our home marked the next 10 or so years. However, we were very close with my siblings. We played regular games like football, bird hunting, made dolls of clay and maize cobs, went fishing and swimming in the Nairobi river.

What did you study?

I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Howard University and obtained an MBA in Marketing from University of Dallas.

What drives you?

I remember thinking that we can do better as Kenyans. My satisfaction comes from the fact that I am contributing positively to my country by being a patriot, tackling food security and developing young talent.

Do you have interests in Kibra?

I work with people from all over Kenya: Malindi, Kwale, Kuria, Siaya, Murang’a to mention but a few. However, Kibra has remained dear to my heart since I was a girl. I have many relatives who live there and I pretty much grew up in the area. Just like any one else, the residents of Kibra also seek to lead a dignified life and ensure a better future for their children. Anything I can do to help them achieve their dreams I will do. I have been and always will be a part of them.

There is talk that you are eyeing the MP’s seat in the area ...

That is an assumption, as far as I am concerned, I have not declared interest in any political seat. 

Are you married?


What is the cost of being Raila Odinga’s daughter?

It is a reality of my life; people are unable to detach my personal life from his public life. This sometimes determines how and where I socialise and meet people. Some people have unrealistic expectations of how I should look or act based on my father’s public persona. All the same I am very proud of my father and what he has accomplished for this country. He has been in the forefront in agitating  for the many freedoms we as Kenyans enjoy today.

If you were to address a women’s only rally at Uhuru Park, what would you tell them?

In my journey of meeting women from various parts of the country and the world, I have come to learn that we all yearn for different things in life. However, we all want to succeed and women are the best at helping and encouraging each other to get further in life. That’s why women’s organisations are the most successful and most organised anywhere you visit in the world.

What do you enjoy the most as the daughter of Kenya’s former prime minister?

The opportunity to meet different people from all walks of life, interacting with them and learning their different cultures. From the very humble, to the most privileged. I value a human being not by their social status but by the way they treat fellow humans.

Talk a little bit about your mother and the impact she has had in your life?

My mother is the bedrock of our family. I get my strength and resilience from her. She is also very prayerful and thoughtful of others’ wellbeing. She is a no- nonsense person for those who know her very well but also has a great sense of humour.

How do you unwind?

I sometimes go out of town to visit friends and relatives. I also do girls’ night-out with my girlfriends. My daughters and I sometimes go on adventures to discover new places and meet new people. We fish, or go to the animal park.

What’s your favourite meal?

 Ugali, matumbo and mchicha