15 July 2018

Kenya: Puzzle of Obama's Last Destinations Before Landing in Kenya

Photo: Nairobi News
Former US President Barack Obama in photo shared by Gerson Msigwa, the Director for Presidential Communication in Tanzania, claiming the Obamas spent eight days in Tanzania before coming to Kenya.

Kenyans have been left puzzled over the countries former President of the United States Barack Obama visited days before he landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport on Sunday morning.

On one side, Tanzania claims he was in the neighbouring country for more than a week holidaying in the Serengeti National Park with his family before leaving for Kenya, a claim that cannot be independently verified.

TANZANIA

Through his twitter account, Gerson Msigwa, the Director for Presidential Communication in Tanzania, claimed the Obamas spent eight days in Tanzania before jetting out to his ancestral home.

"Thank you Former President of USA Barack Obama for visiting and making a long stay of 8 days to our beautiful country Tanzania," said Mr Msigwa in his twitter post.

Thank you Former President of USA Barack Obama for visiting and making a long stay of 8 days to our beautiful country Tanzania. We hope you and your family enjoyed your stay in the endless plain of Serengeti. Welcome again and again @BarackObama @MichelleObama pic.twitter.com/Ux59FqJIMl

- Gerson Msigwa (@MsigwaGerson) July 15, 2018

On the other hand, Spanish newspaper El Pais quoted government spokesperson Isabel Celaá confirming that Mr Obama met with Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez in Madrid on Friday.

"It was a cordial meeting of two people who know a lot about how to lead a country," Mr Sanchez is quoted saying.

SPAIN

The Spanish site goes to add that the meeting lasting a quarter of an hour took place on Friday July 9 2018 at the Technological Innovation and Circular Summit where Obama was a guest speaker.

El Pais also reported that Mr Obama on Saturday met privately with Spain's King Felipe VI at the Reina Sofía Museum where they spent time admiring works by Spanish surrealist Salvador Dalí.

BBC Swahili was the first to report the story of Obama reportedly visiting Tanzania and the Serengeti, quoting a tweet by Mr Msigwa, the Director for Presidential Communication in Tanzania.

Undated pictures shared on social media platforms show Obama and his wife, former US First Lady Michelle Obama, landing at Kilimanjaro International Airport and later visiting the Serengeti Park.

Was Tanzania's claim that Obama was in their country for a week a bluff to steal the thunder from Kenya, which is hosting him for two days before he heads to South Africa?

KENYA

The 44th President of the US landed at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport Sunday morning and headed straight to State House, Nairobi for a brief meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta.

It was a great pleasure to welcome you back @BarackObama pic.twitter.com/EUHg8fpNPx

- Uhuru Kenyatta (@UKenyatta) July 15, 2018

This is Mr Obama's fourth visit to the country. He last visited in July 2015 while still President and previously as Illinois Senator in 2006 and as a student in 1987 to trace his paternal roots.

The former President arrived in a chartered plane under tight security, as Kenyans welcomed their most famous son excitedly online and offline.

After his meeting with former Prime Minister Raila Odinga at a city hotel Sunday evening, Mr Obama is set to proceed to Nyang'oma K'Ogelo village in Siaya County.

It's always a great pleasure meeting with one of Kenya's most famous sons, President @BarackObama. He spoke very passionately about his foundation and particularly the empowerment of the youth and I commend both him and his sister @AumaObama for the commendable job pic.twitter.com/plb7zazi4g

- Raila Odinga (@RailaOdinga) July 15, 2018

On Monday, he is expected to inaugurate the Sauti Kuu Foundation's Sports, Resource and Vocational Training Centre, and thereafter give a brief remark, before jetting out to South Africa.

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