Kenya: Somali Elder Wants to Meet Obama

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.

Mr Mohamed Hassan Mumin, a peace elder from Wajir County who dressed former US President Barack Obama in traditional Somali outfit in 2006, is now seeking to meet him.

Yesterday, Mr Obama held talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga before proceeding to his father's ancestral home in K'Ogelo.

During Mr Obama's visit to Wajir County in 2006, when he was Illinois Senator, Mr Mumin dressed him in traditional attire that comprised a Somali head dress and robe, Barki (traditional pillow) and a walking stick. Images of the occasion were later used by Mr Obama's opponents to depict him as a radical Muslim whose name was similar to that of Al-Qaeda leader Osama bin laden.

This drew mixed reactions from Kenyans, with Wajir County elders demanding an apology from the US government. Mr Mumin was then chairman of Al-Fatah peace group.

In an exclusive interview with the Nation, Mr Mumin said previous efforts to meet Mr Obama when he visited the country as US President were unsuccessful. He said he went to the US ambassador's office in Nairobi but his wishes were not granted.

"I blessed Mr Obama when he was a senator and he ended up ruling America for two terms. I now want to bless him to be the leader of peace in global hotspots such as Syria, Palestine, Afghanistan, South Sudan and Somalia," he said.

Mr Mumin is widely credited with bringing to an end bloody inter-clan clashes between Degodia and Ogaden in Wajir in 1993.

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