Kenya: Kogelo to Push for Approval of 'Barack Obama University'

President Uhuru Kenyatta with the 44th US President Barack Obama when he paid him a courtesy call at State House, Nairobi on July 15, 2018. On the left is Mr Obama’s half sister Dr Auma Obama.

Kogelo residents will push former United States President Barack Obama to publicly endorse a university to be named after him.

Already, locals have set aside 24 acres for the main campus of the university in Nyang'oma while plans are underway to admit the first batch of students to Siaya Agricultural Training Centre in September.

The establishment of Barack Obama University of Leadership and Technology will be among the six petitions to be presented to the former US president when he lands in Siaya today.

Community spokesman Nicholas Rajula said talks are at an advanced stage to make Siaya ATC a constituent college of the university.

OPEN POTENTIAL

He added that the college is working with Maseno University to offer a number of courses.

Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga says the establishment of the university will open up the potential of Kogelo.

Mr Rasanga added that the university would play a big role in teaching unique courses that target the 14 counties in the Lake Basin "which have a common goal of fighting poverty".

"When I visited Harvard University recently, the mention of Obama's name elicited optimism. That is why the project is important," the county boss said.

NEW COURSES

US-based scholar Michael Muiga, who was a policy staff member of Mr Obama's re-election campaign in 2012, said former Florida Senator Bob Graham is willing and ready to support the university.

He added that once the university begins operating, professors from the US would be called in to help introduce courses not offered in Kenya.

"We will offer industrial, material, foundation, petroleum and irrigation engineering courses," Prof Muiga, himself a civil engineer, said.

He added that the establishment of the university would put Mr Obama's name in education circles just like George Washington University, which is named after another former US president.

EXPAND GRADUALLY

Mr Rasanga underlined the need to introduce programmes like irrigation, tropical medicine and law.

Artefacts, including Mr Obama's childhood history and speeches, would be collected and archived at the university.

The chairman of the committee on the construction of the university, Achola Waw, said renovation of lecture halls, laboratories, ablution blocks and computer halls at Siaya ATC is complete.

"We intend to start with the school of agriculture, commerce and education as we seek to expand gradually," Prof Waw told journalists.

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