17 July 2018

Kenya: Angry Villagers Accuse Obama Family of Keeping Barack for Themselves

Photo: Ondari Ogega/Nairobi News
Former US president Barack Obama with his sister Auma Obama on a tour of the Sauti Kuu Recreation and Resource Centre in Nyangoma, Kogello village in Siaya county on July 16, 2018.

Villagers and visitors from far and wide who had trooped to K'Ogelo to welcome former United States of America president Barack Obama left a dejected lot when they failed to have a glimpse of him.

Unlike in the past when Obama visited the village as a Senator in Illinois and addressed the public before walking to his grandmother home, this time he arrived driven in unmarked tinted cars and did not stop to acknowledge greetings.

He arrived in the village from Kisumu and was driven straight to his grandmother Sarah Obama's home for a brief family meeting, before heading to Sauti Kuu Foundation.

Those who braved the scorching sun and thronged the Sauti Kuu gates, hoping that he will address them, were heard cursing when the former president left through the back gate.

"What was the need for them to use the media to urge us to turn up and welcome Obama when they knew they would not allow him to even wave at us" posed mzee Pius Atong'.

SAUTI KUU FLOP

Atong' described the Obama visit to K'Ogelo as an "anti-climax", expressing fear that even the Sauti Kuu Foundation institute that he opened in the area may flop as locals have lost faith in the family.

"I see Dr Auma Obama importing students from Germany or the United States with this kind of treatment," he said, adding that it will be difficult for villagers to embrace a project whose owners despise them.

A visitor to the area, Norman Odongo who said he had travelled all the way from Awasi in Kisumu county engaged security officers in a serious argument when he was barred from moving close to the venue where Obama was presiding over the opening of Sauti Kuu.

Odongo, armed with two replica rifles made of timber dubbed AK 48 caused a scene, saying he could not be barred from achieving his dream of seeing Obama, having travelled for more than 100 kilometres.

"Afande ninajua mumetoka mbali, lakini mimi nimetoka mbali sana na nilianza safari mapema zaidi ili tu nije nimwone" (sir, I know that you are from far but I have come from very far and begun my journey very early just to come and see him) he pleaded with the General Service Unit officers who were patrolling the Ng'iya - Kogelo- Ndori road that had been closed to the public.

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