, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 16 – Some three years after his first visit as the US President to the country,Barack Obama is back to the land of his father, Kenya.
Back then, he was the most powerful man in the world but on Sunday, he came on a private mission.
At the time, Obama arrived at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Airforce One to the reception of President Uhuru Kenyatta, relatives, and other senior government officials.
An accredited group of journalists, local and foreign, were all on hand to capture the moment as history was being written – it was the first visit by a serving US President.
On Sunday, when Obama arrived in the country, aboard a chartered plane, he was received by his sister Auma Obama, CS Foreign Affairs Monica Juma and US Ambassador Bob Godec.
He then proceeded to State House where he held a meeting with President Kenyatta.
Later, Obama met former Prime Minister Raila Odinga at a city hotel, where they held discussions on a wide range of issues.
“He spoke very passionately about his foundation and particularly the empowerment of the youth and I commend both him and his sister Auma Obama for the commendable job they have done in building the community in Kogelo,” Odinga said in a statement posted on his social media platforms.
“Always a champion of democracy, President Obama threw his support behind the Building Bridges initiative and pledged his support in helping bring the country together and fighting corruption. Finally, we spoke about ending the stalemate in South Sudan and finding peace for our neighbours.”
Traffic was only disrupted when his motorcade of about 15 vehicles snaked through the city from the airport to State House.
In 2015, it was a complete shutdown of the city.
The then Governor of Nairobi Evans Kidero had weeks prior to his visit started a beautification programme, which was not the case on his recent visit.
In a sharp contrast with Nairobi, the sleepy village of Kogelo where Obama arrived on Monday morning was a beehive of activity as excited locals grappled for a chance to see their ‘son’.
Security personnel had a hard time trying to control the surging crowd that had queued along the way.
Obama is in Kenya to inaugurate the Sauti Kuu Foundation’s project which comprises a sports centre and resource and vocational training centre run by his half-sister.
After inaugurating the Sauti Kuu Foundation and visiting his ancestral home in Alego Nyang’oma of Siaya County, Obama heads to South Africa where he is expected to deliver the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Johannesburg.