ODM party leader Raila Odinga has fond memories of his mother Mary Juma Odinga.
In a statement to mark International Mother’s Day, Raila says his mother, like the millions of others was “special and unique.”
Mary Juma died on November 5, 1984 while Raila was in detention. “I was formally informed about it two months after her demise,” Raila says.
In Not Yet Uhuru, Raila’s father Jaramogi Oginga Odinga portrayed Mary Juma as a strong, sometimes opinionated woman. This strength first came to the fore when their eldest son Oburu was born.
“I behaved like a new father who had a new possession all to himself,” Jaramogi writes in the book, published in 1967. “I treated my wife as I handled my students. I gave her a timetable by which she was to suckle, wash and care for the child. For my wife, this was the last straw. Like me, she is hot-tempered, though her temper cools fast.”
Mary Juma left Jaramogi for six months.
Raila writes, “Just like Mother Earth, they (mothers) make the world a better place; they love us unconditionally, and oh man they can multi-task. It’s Mother’s Day. I single out single mums today. Happy Mother’s Day!”