Striking similarities between Kenyan President Uhuru & American President Obama

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Uhuru-ObamaNewly elected Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta and US President Barack Obama: Two Kenyans with strikingly similar stories and strikingly similar connections to each other;
1. As mentioned, both men are Kenyans

2. Both men born in 1961, Uhuru on 26th October 1961, Barack on 4th August 1961

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3. Both are left-handed

4. Barack is of mixed-race, while his wife Michelle is not of mixed race. Uhuru is not of mixed race, while Uhuru’s wife Margaret is of mixed race

5. Both men are devoted to their spouses, judging from their public utterances and actions

6. Both men do not have Christian names even though they are both very religious and spiritual. Uhuru’s full names are Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, while Barack’s full names are Barack Hussein Obama

7. The first names of both men have profound meanings in Kiswahili, the Lingua Franca of East & Central Africa. “Uhuru” means “Freedom” in Kiswahili, while “Barack” is derived from “Baracka” which means blessings in Kiswahili

8. Both men are from Kenya’s two biggest tribes. Uhuru is a Kikuyu, Kenya’s biggest tribe, while Barack is a Luo, Kenya’s second biggest tribe

9. Both men lead sharply divided and polarised countries. Kenya is worryingly divided on ethnic lines, while the United States is worrying divided on ideological lines i.e. Democrats and Republicans, the Left and the Right

10. Both Uhuru’s father and Barack’s father attended prestigious overseas institutions. Uhuru’s father went to the London School of Economics, while Barack’s father attended Harvard University

11. Uhuru is from an aristocratic background, while Barack isn’t. Uhuru’s father Jomo Kenyatta, was independent Kenya’s founding Prime Minister and President, and his great-grandfather Kongo wa Magana (i.e. Kongo son of Magana), was a medicine-man. On the other hand, Barack’s Kenyan grandfather, was a cook in colonial Kenya’s army, what was then known as the Kings African Rifles (KAR)

12. Barack’s father was a senior economist in Kenya’s Ministry of Economic Planning when Uhuru’s father was President of Kenya. At the time, Barack’s father wrote a fiercely hostile critique of Jomo Kenyatta’s economic growth & development module for independent Kenya, what was then known as Sessional Paper No. 10 of 1965 on African Socialism, which in Jomo Kenyatta’s words , combined both “Western Capitalism and Eastern Communism”. The senior Obama’s dismissal of Jomo Kenyatta’s Sessional Paper No. 10 of 1965, earned the senior Obama the wrath of Jomo Kenyatta’s inner circle. The senior Obama lost his job at the Ministry of Economic Planning as a result of this. The senior Obama secured a job at the Kenya Tourist Development Corporation (KTDC), after this, but did not also last long at KTDC. While reeling from his second job loss, the senior Obama had the good fortune of bumping into an old acquaintance, Mwai Kibaki, at Nairobi’s Hotel Intercontinental. Kibaki, independent Kenya’s third President, was then the Kenyan Minister of Finance. The senior Obama did not mince his words, and told Kibaki he was looking for work. Kibaki asked the senior Obama to see him the following week, which the senior Obama promptly did. Kibaki arranged for the senior Obama to be hired at the Ministry of Finance, and the senior Obama was back. The junior Obama appears to have never forgiven the senior Kenyatta for his father’s dismissal from the Kenya’s Ministry of Economic Planning. When the junior Obama visited Kenya as Senator Obama in 2006, the junior Obama paid glowing tribute to then President Kibaki, referring to Kibaki as a “good man, for giving his father a job at the Ministry of Finance”. Senator Obama made no mention at all of Jomo Kenyatta, and omitted laying a wreath at the mausoleum of Jomo Kenyatta, as is customary with visiting dignitaries to Kenya

13. Both men value their roots and heritage. Uhuru speaks excellent Kikuyu and very good Kiswahili, while the junior Obama visited his ancestral Nyang’oma-Kogelo village in Kenya’s Nyanza Province as a “nobody” at least twice i.e. 1987 and 1991. The junior Obama even visited in the company of Michelle in 1991

14. Both men have a great admiration and regard for their fathers and both men listen to alternative opinion. Uhuru used to keep long hair like his father Jomo, brushed backwards like Jomo used to. Uhuru’s year 2002 campaign team advised against this and Uhuru complied. Uhuru has not kept long hair like his father Jomo since 2002. Barack on the other hand, was influenced by his wife Michelle, to drop his chain-smoking habit

15. Uhuru reputedly drank heavily in his youth, while Barack reputedly smoked marijuana in his youth

16. Both men appear not to have time for each other. Uhuru’s hero is Fidel Castro, while Barack’s is Abraham Lincoln. Uhuru is a fan of Bob Marley, while Barack is a fan of hip-hop and soul music

17. Both have an excellent command of the English language and both are excellent orators in English

18. Both men are humble and down to earth, men of the people

19. Both men’s fathers had four wives each. Jomo Kenyatta’s four wives were Grace Wahu, Grace Wanjiku, Edna Grace Clarke and Ngina, while Barack Senior’s four wives were Kezia, Ann, Ruth and Jael

20. Uhuru’s wife Margaret grew up on the affluent west side of Nairobi, while Barack’s wife Michelle grew up on the less affluent south side of Chicago. Both Margaret and Michelle are however humble and down to earth, indeed, like both their Kenyan husbands

Will both men meet…? It seems likely…

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By Jeremy Kinyanjui

 

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