Obama arrives in Kenya his ‘homeland’
President Barack Obama arrived last evening in Kenya,the ancestral ‘homeland’ that has waited impatiently for a visit from the U.S. president since he was first elected to office.Air Force One touched down just after 8:02pm local time, with Kenya leading TV stations KTN, NTV,Citizen Tv, KBC and K24 carrying every minute of his arrival live.In Mombasa road, one of the city’s busiest route that was closed for traffic,hundreds lined the streets, cheering and shouting as the presidential motorcade roared past.Kenyans on Twitter (KOT) hashtag #Obamareturns was trending among the top trends on Twitter and Google Plus.In a clip posted online, there were flourishes at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, but an eight-year-old girl named Joan Wamaitha stole the show when she presented Obama with a bouquet of flowers and a curtsy as he bounded down the steps of the plane.He is then seen hugging President Uhuru Kenyatta, embracing his half sister, Auma Obama, and the he signed a guest book.Absent though was Kenya’s Deputy President William Ruto who is facing charges of crimes against humanity in Hague.At the moment of writing this post, President Obama had just concluded having dinner with three-dozen members of his Kenyan family for dinner at his hotel.Clips emerging online few moments ago show him seated next to his half-sister Auma and step-grandmother Sarah Obama, who was the third wife of the president’s paternal grandfather.
She’s affectionately known to many as Mama Sarah in Kenya,but to U.S President, she’s a grandmother.A massive security operation was in place to protect President Obama during his two day visit to Kenya, which has been frequently targeted by al-Shabaab militants based in neighboring Somalia according to local newspapers.Ahead of Mr. Obama’s arrival this evening, large numbers of security forces patrolled in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi. Several U.S. military aircraft were spotted flying around the city. There have also been significant military attacks on Islamic militant targets in Somalia recently.Safaricom, Kenya’s largest mobile network operator warned of disruptions while Obama is in Nairobi to meet entrepreneurs and hold talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta.According to Kenya immigration records, Obama has travelled to Kenya three times before, but never as president.He first came to Kenya in 1987 to trace his father’s story and to meet his Kenyan family. He returned in 1992 with Michelle Obama, taking her to the village where his father was born.They returned in 2006, and the then recently elected US senator was greeted more like a celebrity, with thousands lining the streets he travelled, hoping for a glimpse. Major Nairobi roads were temporarily closed and authorities said the international airport will also be closed at times coinciding with Mr. Obama’s arrival and his departure for Ethiopia tomorrow.
Obama’s schedule includes a Sunday address at a Nairobi’s Kasarani stadium that will be broadcast live on Kenyan radio and television. U.S. Ambassador Robert Godec said in a statement posted online that attendance is by invitation only to representatives from “a wide range of Kenyan society” despite speculation that huge crowds would gather.“We discourage people from coming to the venue if they’re not explicitly invited,” Mr. Godec said.This past week, Kenyans have been using the hashtag #KenyansMessageToObama to share their concerns with the president, who is currently visiting their country.A CNN report on President Obama’s trip to Kenya drew the ire of astute viewers around the globe.While aiming to highlight the likelihood of violence brought on by the Al-Shabaab militants during the President’s visit, U.S news network called Kenya region a “hotbed of terror.” Those choice words didn’t go over so well, and proud Kenyans began to air out their grievances under the hashtag, #SomeoneTellCNN.Tweeting out a shot of the on-air report, which was splashed with the network’s prized “Terror Threat” banner, one user accused CNN of being the real terrorist.It was buffoonery for former CIA officer Robert Baer who appeared on the network to claim that Kenya “is one of the most dangerous trips that the president has ever made more so than Iraq and Afghanistan.”Many of the citizens and non citizens like your blogger strongly believed CNN sensationalized Kenya’s security issues and painted the country in a very negative light.CNN was branded as Chronic Neurotic Nonsense by those who contributed to #SomeoneTellCNN.