Mama Sarah Obama holds meeting with close family members
As the news of President Obama’s visit swept across the country, his grandmother Sarah Obama held a meeting with the US leader’s extended Kenyan family.
Security guards had strict instructions not to allow unauthorised visitors into the compound.
Mr Henry Sidiga, Mama Sarah’s personal assistant said journalists were not allowed into the compound.
He said, however, they had not received official communication from President Obama regarding the visit.
“Mama Sarah is still held up in a meeting with close family members. We do not know when it will end. Anyway, we have not received any official communication but will be pleased if he visits,” said Mr Sidiga.
A section of Kisumu residents told the Nation that they would only respond once they get the news in the 7pm bulletin.
Mr Jackson Obondo, a tuk tuk driver, said he was not aware of the development and therefore, could not comment.
“We cannot say anything now until that time when we hear it on radio or on television at 7pm,” said Mr Obondo.
He added: “If the news is true as claimed, then we will be all the more happy as the people whose son is coming home.”
Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga implored Mr Obama not to ignore the county — his father’s birthplace — when he visits.
“It will be best if he plans to visit Mama Sarah Obama here in Siaya like he did when he was due for senatorial elections. He got his blessings when he prayed besides his father’s grave,” said the governor.
Mr Rasanga said the county leaders would engage the US President on issues of water scarcity and food security.
“We must engage him here on the ground; let him not end his trip in Nairobi,” said Mr Rasanga.
He said Mr Obama’s visit will be a boost to Kenya’s international standing.
In Kisumu, Mr Robinson Anyal, the Western Kenya Hotel Managers Association chairman, said: “This is the best news for us as Kisumu residents. The visit will be a boost for tourism especially the Western Circuit which has Kogelo, the ancestral home of President Barack Obama’s father.”
As for Ms Dinna Mocho, a security guard, the President was welcome as “he is our brother”.
“Inasmuch as he is coming, he will not really change our lives,” she added.
Kisii Town businessman Richard Nyabwari didn’t see much in the visit. “Obama’s coming to Kenya will not amount to much now that our government has turned to China and other countries in the east.
“Obama finished his first term in office but did not visit Kenya, his fatherland. I don’t see his visit adding any value to us as Kenyans now that we are dealing with China,” said Mr Nixon Nyakweba, another trader in Kisii town.
Nyahururu property agent John Waigwa thought the visit was a show of confidence in the Jubilee administration.
In Nyeri, the news was received with joy, with several residents saying it had come at the right time when President Uhuru Kenyatta was cleaning up his house.
“I believe it will resuscitate tourism and consolidate confidence that Kenya is a safe destination and that President Barack Obama approves of President Kenyatta’s leadership,” said Mr Kamau Gatwechi, a youth leader in Nyeri County.
Eldoret politician Kipkorir Menjo said of the visit: “He (Obama) is always having a huge delegation of investors.
“He has some investment magnetism and President Uhuru Kenyatta is cracking the whip on corrupt individuals, which is a good show to the world. Investment should top the agenda when he comes into our country.”