Obama s greatest show on earth

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The arrival of US President Barack Obama in London for the G20 summit has made me forget the myriad of problems my country is facing this week.

The performance of power witnessed in London cannot go unnoticed. The man from Kogelo arrived for his first visit in the UK with a humongous 500-strong entourage despite what the media keep on referring to as the financial meltdown/depression/ financial crunch etc in his country.

Without question, the largest delegation at the summit was that of the US President. It was also the biggest ever delegation for a sitting US president while on a tour of a foreign country – Somalia, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan etc.

The staff that included 200 US secret service agents flew into London with a mass of high-tech security equipment, including Air Force One, a customised Boeing 747, which has a conference room, bedroom suite, gym and communications gear said to be able to withstand a nuclear attack.

Marine One, the president’s helicopter, which can fire flares to divert heat-seeking missiles was also in London. It is part of a fleet of 19 identical helicopters with some of them used as decoys.

On the ground, the US president used ‘The Beast’ – the Sh23 million limousine, weighing four tonnes, which can be turned into a sealed "panic room". The vehicle that seats seven is said to be able to resist chemical attacks and missiles. The limousine is a combination of a Cadillac limousine built on the body of a GMC truck.

It’s a fact that Obama is attending one of the largest gatherings of world leaders, but I think he could have done well if he moved to cut on wastage to save a few dollars for his country that is facing a major financial crunch.

I’m questioning the exaggerated security because I didn’t hear reports that there were persons in the city with terror motives. Amidst all the turmoil about the AIG bonuses and a faltering economy, the President seemed to be in a world of his own.

US security teams had made three trips to prepare for Obama’s (codename Renegade) first visit to London as President, and had been closely working with the British authorities. British officials had also said they were not taking any chances and had organised security not seen before in London.

London is also not any other city in the world. The legendary British queen resides here. I expected Obama to be chauffer-driven in one of the Queen’s limousines just to have a taste of British hospitality and he would not have risked his security anyway.

I may not be an American but the man who has his roots in Kenya should lead from the front in cutting unnecessary expenditure for his country. This is money that can be given to AIG managers as bonuses.

Our ambassador in the US should also take a cue from his counterpart in Kenya and issue a statement castigating America on such wastage.

While at it, Mr Renegade, you also need to change the name of your official limousine to something the Pope will be happy to refer to in his speeches.

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