On Saturday, January 20, Kenya’s political landscape will witness a significant event as Raila Odinga, the leader of Azimio, hosts a memorial service to mark the 30th anniversary of the death of Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, Kenya’s founding Vice President. The memorial will be held at the Ofafa Memorial Hall in Kisumu.

Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, born in October 1911, played a pivotal role in Kenya’s history as a freedom fighter and a key figure in securing the country’s independence. Appointed as the Minister for Home Affairs in 1963, he later became the Vice President under the founding father, Mzee Jomo Kenyatta, in 1964. However, due to his outspoken criticism of Kenyatta, Jaramogi resigned from the position on April 14, 1966, remaining a vocal opposition leader until his passing.

The memorial event organized by Raila Odinga will feature renowned scholars, pan-Africanists, thought leaders, and journalists who will speak both physically and virtually. Raila expressed, “The event will be addressed by a stellar team from home and abroad, befitting the stature of Jaramogi—the freedom fighter, the family man, the founding vice president, the businessman, the teacher, the farmer, the politician, and the great statesman.”

Notable figures expected to speak at the memorial include Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyong’o, who will serve as the keynote speaker, and Prof Michael Chege, a distinguished scholar in African studies. The event will also feature contributions from individuals who were mentored by Jaramogi, including retired archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth, freedom fighter Mzee Gitu Kahengeri, women’s rights campaigner Jael Mbogo, former UNCTAD secretary-general Mukhisa Kituyi, and Siaya Governor James Orengo.

Additional speakers at the event include journalist and PhD student John Kamau from the University of Toronto, Canada, and Uganda’s former Foreign Affairs Minister and ex-UN Under Secretary General Dr. Olara Otunnu. Prof David Throup from George Washington University and Prof Robert Maxon from West Virginia University will also share insights on Jaramogi’s place in Kenya’s history.

Governor Nyong’o emphasized the significant role Jaramogi played in shaping Kenya’s destiny, stating, “Jaramogi Oginga Odinga will always stand tall among the nationalists who shaped the destiny of our nation.”

As Kenya reflects on Jaramogi’s legacy, this memorial event aims to honor his contributions and enduring impact on the nation’s political and social landscape.

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