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What’s Going on around Kenya – Saturday 25/07/2015

Obama lands in Kenya to euphoric welcome

US President Barack Obama arrived in Kenya on a trip that will also include a stop in the Ethiopian capital, and a visit to the home of the African Union.

Obama landed in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on Friday evening, and was received by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta with a handshake and embrace as he stepped off Air Force One.

The president’s half-sister Auma Obama was also on the tarmac to welcome him and travel in the bespoke, bomb-proof presidential limousine, nicknamed ‘The Beast’, for the drive to the hotel in the city centre.

Throngs of Kenyans lined the route of the convoy, cheering, whistling and waving as Obama’s motorcade passed by and a helicopter circled overhead.

Parts of the Kenyan capital have been locked down and airspace was closed during the president’s arrival, leaving some of the roads empty on Friday afternoon, usually the busiest time of the week when streets are jammed with cars.

President Obama with his grandmother, Mama Sarah (left) and sister, Auma, during a gathering of family at a Nairobi hotel. PHOTO | AFP
President Obama with his grandmother, Mama Sarah (left) and sister, Auma, during a gathering of family at a Nairobi hotel. PHOTO | AFP

Obama dines with Kenyan family after arriving in father’s homeland

US President Barack Obama dined with his step grandmother, his sister and other extended family members after arriving in Kenya for his first presidential visit to his father’s homeland on Friday.

Once at his hotel, the president sat down with the woman he calls “Granny,” also called “Mama Sarah,” who helped raise his now deceased father as a child.

Obama’s half-sister Auma Obama and a few dozen other extended family members related were also present.

Wearing a dark blue suit and tie, he chatted amiably with the large family seated at long tables at a restaurant inside the hotel where he is staying.

Obama’s family connection to Kenya has cast a trip that is otherwise likely to focus on trade and counter-terrorism issues in a personal light.

Obama in Kenya: “Africa is on the move”

US President Barack Obama has praised Africa’s economic and business potential in a speech in Nairobi on the first full day of his visit to Kenya.

“Africa is on the move… People are being lifted out of poverty, incomes are up and the middle class is growing,” he said during his speech at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit on Saturday morning.

Obama also backed Africa to grow its business opportunities and eventually lift its citizens out of poverty.

He later visited the memorial park for the 1998 US Embassy bombing, before holding talks president Uhuru at State House.

The trip has been described as a “homecoming” by Kenyan media, and crowds cheered Mr. Obama’s motorcade as it travelled from the airport.

US President Barack Obama speaks during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at the United Nations Compound in Nairobi. AFP PHOTO | SAUL LOEB
US President Barack Obama speaks during the Global Entrepreneurship Summit at the United Nations Compound in Nairobi. AFP PHOTO | SAUL LOEB

Similarities between Obama and Uhuru

As the 44th president of the most powerful country in the world Barrack Obama makes history by being the first sitting President to visit Kenya, he is being hosted by a man who they bears striking similarities – the 4th President of Kenya Uhuru Kenyatta.

Both presidents were born the same year, 1961. Their wives Michelle Obama and Margaret Kenyatta respectively also happen to share the same birthday year 1964 and as if that’s not enough, both men are left handed. Wowed?