Opinion
Why President Barack Obama is not visiting Kenya
Publish Date: Aug 04, 2014
newvision
  • mail
  • img

By George Ntambaazi

In the remaining years of Barack Obama’s presidency, the first African American to hold that office, I would like to call attention to some of the obvious consequences of his leadership.

During his campaigns, millions of people supported and admired him almost to the point of idolisation culminating into him winning the presidency in 2008 and consequently the Noble Peace Prize in 2009. There were fireworks, parties, tears of joy and thanksgiving. Kenya was specifically hysterical and African expectations by and large about Obama reached fever-pitch.

Many expected that with winning the presidency, Obama, born in the United States to a Kenyan father and an American mother, would immidiately come to his fatherland Kenya  to celebrate his glamorous achievement.

Kenya’s former president Mwai Kibaki specifically hailed Obama’s victory as significant not only in the history of the United States, but also for Kenya, his ancestral homeland.  He added that the victory of Obama was their own victory because of his roots in Kenya. This  turned out not to be the case, as Obama had other plans.

Ever since his first inauguration on January 20, 2009, Obama has travelled to 46 different states internationally. In Africa, he has ironically only visited four including Ghana in 2009, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania in 2013.

He has, however, visited Indonesia, the land of his step-father Lolo Soetoro twice, first between November 9-10, 2010 and was slated for  October 2013 last year which was postponed. Probably there is a missing link between Obama and his father, that can help explain his passivity to Africa. 

Obama‘s father, was doing his studies abroad when he met Obama’s mother Ann Dunham at the University of Hawai in 1960. He married her in 1961 and  divorced her with a young son of three years in 1964. Obama Jr last saw his father in 1971, who took him to a jazz concert, before he died in a car accident in 1982. By that time, both Obama’s parents had remarried.

Obama only visited Kenya in 1987 and as a Senator in 2006 but not as a President.

It is not surprising, therefore, that Obama who began his presidency with over 75% approval rating has gradually declined to almost below 40% in 2014.  Ofcourse you can attribute this to his domestic and foreign mishaps but failure to ignite his home spirits strongly counts.

But of course some think that his failure and disappointment of many not to visit Kenya cannot obscure their admiration for his great leadership qualities and fine political career.

However, his passivity to the land of his forefathers and two, unwillingness to even contemplate coming back is an abomination to us Africans. However, we still harbour dreams and have the audacity of hope that Obama will finally come home.

Perhaps, some of you think issues of ICC indictments of Kenyan leaders prevent him, but those indictments were not there in his first term.

It is obvious Obama’s visit to Kenya as a president would enhance its position in the world and would be hailed with delight. But now, should he decide to come, there is a likelihood of questioning his loyalty and deny him all the pomp he would have got had he come earlier.

I am certainly hopeful that next week, when he will be hosting a US-Africa Leaders’ Summit of Heads of State and government, he will step back and reflect on the achievements of African descendants in America, and their transformation of the American Society.

The writer is a regional political analyst

The statements, comments, or opinions expressed through the use of New Vision Online are those of their respective authors, who are solely responsible for them, and do not necessarily represent the views held by the staff and management of New Vision Online.

New Vision Online reserves the right to moderate, publish or delete a post without warning or consultation with the author.Find out why we moderate comments. For any questions please contact digital@newvision.co.ug

  • mail
  • img
blog comments powered by Disqus
Also In This Section
Namugongo Museum: Uganda’s architecture too needs Martyrs
For their refusal to renounce Christianity, thirty-two young men of the Catholic and Anglican faiths were – on the orders of Kabaka Mwanga II of Buganda – burned to death on June 3, 1886 at Namugongo ....
Rank stupidity?
Blaise Cronin is Professor Emeritus of Information Science at Indiana University Bloomington, and Honorary Professor at City University London....
Uganda’s traffic woes
When you want to know that Uganda’s traffic system is dead, try walking through the ZEBRA Crossing....
The years of living tactically
We have been living in an illusion. For years, the world has believed that the transition from a unipolar to a multipolar order would be peaceful, orderly, and steady, with new players like China, Brazil, and Turkey adapting to the existing multilateral framework in a natural, harmonious way. How w...
Mineral certification: The genesis and steps Uganda ought to remember
On December 15, 2010, Uganda endorsed the ICGLR Lusaka Declaration adopting six tools to fight Illegal exploitation of natural resources in the Great Lakes Region....
The resistible return of Nicolas Sarkozy
Former British Prime Minister Harold Wilson once said that a week is a very long time in politics. If that is true, France’s 2017 presidential election is an eternity away, and any speculation at this point is premature, even imprudent....
Should the absence of bride price prevent couples from wedding?
Yes
No
Can't Say
follow us
subscribe to our news letter