Born Jan. 2, 1945, Raila Odinga comes from the Luo tribe, one of Kenya's largest ethnic groups. Odinga's father, Jaramogi Oginga Odinga, was a nationalist hero and Kenya's first vice president after independence from Britain in 1963.
In 1982, Raila Odinga was accused of plotting a coup against President Daniel arap Moi, charged with treason and detained without trial for six years before fleeing to Norway in 1991. He returned to Kenya a year later. He ran against President Daniel arap Moi in 1997, coming third behind Moi and current President Mwai Kibaki.
Odinga helped Kibaki win power in 2002, joining the National Rainbow Coalition party which Kibaki led. Odinga served for three years in Kibaki's cabinet as minister for roads, public works and housing, but was fired for campaigning against Kibaki in a constitutional referendum in 2005.
In 2007, Odinga ran against Kibaki as leader of the Orange Democratic Movement, but was defeated in a vote tally deemed flawed by local and international election monitors. Odinga said he was robbed of the presidency, and the country spiraled into bloody protests and ethnic fighting that left about 1,000 people dead.
Under the power-sharing deal announced Feb. 28, 2008, after weeks of intense mediation efforts, Kibaki remained president, with cabinet posts split between rival parties, and Odinga was given the newly created position of executive prime minister.