Kenya won’t crumble over Obama no-show

Government spokesman Muthui Kariuki told AFP that Kenya was not worried or concerned by Obama's decision since the US leader was free to visit wherever he wanted/FILE
Government spokesman Muthui Kariuki told AFP that Kenya was not worried or concerned by Obama’s decision since the US leader was free to visit wherever he wanted/FILE

NAIROBI, Kenya, May 21 – Kenya has played down the decision by US President Barrack Obama to snub it once again on his scheduled tour of Africa, saying it was “fine”.

Government spokesman Muthui Kariuki told AFP that Kenya was not worried or concerned by Obama’s decision since the US leader was free to visit wherever he wanted.

Kenya at the same time rejected claims that he would bypass the country due to the upcoming trials at the International Criminal Court (ICC) against President Uhuru Kenyatta and his Deputy William Ruto for alleged crimes against humanity.

“Kenya is moving on with its development agenda and we continue being part of the League of Nations. We are not worried that he is not coming to Kenya. We are fine,” Kariuki told AFP.

“There have been rumours that President Obama is avoiding Kenya because of the ongoing ICC cases. These are unfounded accusations.”

A White House official was earlier quoted saying that Obama would side-step Nairobi due to the ICC cases as “it would be unseemly for him to appear with ICC indictees.”

A cross section of Kenyans interviewed on Obama’s decision argued that the ICC should not be used as an excuse to continue giving Kenya the cold shoulder because Kenyatta and Ruto were elected despite the looming ICC trials.

Majority of those who spoke to Capital FM News felt that the US and other western countries needed Kenya as much as Kenya needs them and should stop hiding behind the ICC banner.

“A time will come when he (Obama) will need Kenya and he needs to remember that Kenyans’ lives were still going on even before he took over office from George Bush,” argued Mavado Ondivo.

“We are okay with our President Uhuru Kenyatta and Deputy President William Ruto whether Obama comes here or not,” said businessman Paul Makhanu.

“We elected our president and whether the ICC comes or goes he is our president. We have already seen what is happening to the ICC case,” added a teacher from Murang’a County Charles Karanja.

Obama is scheduled to travel to Senegal, Tanzania and South African between June 26 and July 3 this year.

Kenyans further made reference to Obama’s familial roots in Kogelo saying time had come for him to visit Kenya.

“I think what Obama has done is very unwise. This was his chance to come but he has decided to once again duck and this is his home,” said Rodgers Wandera.

“Why does he keep snubbing us? If he wants a chicken we will give it to him so that he can take it back to America.”

The debate also dominated discussions on social media as some felt that Obama had no obligation to Kenya while others remained indifferent to the news.

“Look folks, he’s the President of the United States. Not your uncle from K’Ogello. He has no obligation to KE. Why’s this hard to understand?” asked Ramah Nyang’ on Twitter.

“So I find nothing exceptional with Obama skipping – behind the scenes he is giving back to Kenya,” argued Dennis Itumbi.

When reached for comment, US Ambassador Robert Godec said that the US valued the relationship with Kenya and was committed to the long-standing partnership.

“We regret that the president cannot travel to every country; but our longstanding commitment remains to all of our African partners, and to the people of Africa, as we look to deepen our partnership with nations across the region,” his response to our queries said.

He added that Obama would travel to South Africa, Senegal, and Tanzania “to reinforce and advance economic growth in Africa.”

He explained that the agenda was also to increase trade and investment while engaging the next generation of African leaders, creating an impression that the US was looking for other African countries with whom to partner with to push its agenda.

He went on to disclose that it was not clear if Obama would visit Kenya in the near future.

  • mativo

    Its OK….glad they would be blocking our mobile signal and causing crazy traffic jam ……

  • ross meroe

    Obama Uncle Tom.

  • indifferentgirl

    Why is it a big deal that he is not coming to Kenya? He does not owe us anything. He is also not obligated to ‘visit’ just because he has Kenyan roots. He is the AMERICAN President first and for most. Even if the ICC case IS the cause of him not visiting, it will not deter our development as a country in any way.

    • anne

      Well said, with or without Obama life goes on in Kenya. Even if Cord won, he still would not have come. Who does he have ini. Kenya except his STEP grandmother and step brothers who i think he does not care much abut them? He is an American NOT a Kenyan.

  • Brigadier Sufferer

    These are the consequences for our actions – ona aibu Jubilee(criminals) imeleta sasa!! Infact diaspora remittances will fall like never before – diaspora voted overwhelmingly for change only for their victory to be stolen. They are now afraid to be associated with their motherland! Hata mimi ningekuwa na namna, afadhali nipeleke u sufferer Tanzania kuliko Kenya. Corruption has already started with Ksh 100M jet hiring by a so called ‘hassler’ – and yet civil society is arrested for shouting ‘thief ‘. Poleni masufferer wenzangu, sufferation haiwezi isha

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Lawrence-Mumba/100002772241843 Lawrence Mumba

    Was Muthui Kariuki surposed to say anything really?

  • Tumaini

    I thought the League of Nations was disbanded a long time ago. Now look at the precedent Mutua sorted. By the way, where is this clown Muthui from?

    • Duncan Muchina

      Well, the clown known as Muthui happens to be the government spokesman. Where he is from happens to be irrelevant right now. You have another swali?

  • gedimuhando

    Could it really concern Americans if President Uhuru skipped USA on his way to Canada?Americans are best handled by doing to them exactly what they do to you.Who in the world needs USA?

  • Gathii

    The last time I checked, there were 55 countries in Africa and Obama is only visiting 3 countries. I do not think the presidents of all the remaining 52 countries are ICC indictees.

  • Mrs_Rance

    President Obama is under constant attack in America for no other reason than his black skin. Right now he has to avoid the appearance of catering to black people in America or anywhere else especially Kenya. He’ll be a much more useful leader when his last term is over. I’m sure he wants to see his Kenya family and wants his daughters to see them as well.

  • khasandiphyllice

    “We elected our president and whether the ICC comes or goes he is our president

    Yeah indeed. “we” elected him. nani anapinga.

    • Mazzdark

      hakuna anaye kupinga, now accept and move on

      • khasandiphyllice

        are you sure?

  • kenyan

    sour grapes – said the hungry fox that could not reach the grape fruit it desired! ” hump they are not ripe anyway, who needs grapes”! Obama is right not to associate his country with suspects good on him.

  • sk kagunya

    UHURU SHOULD MAKE A PRIVATE VISIT INTO ANOTHER COUNTRY POSSIBLY IN THE EAST THAT SAME WEEK THIS USA PRESIDENT IN AFRICA. LIFE SHOULD CONTINUE.

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