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What’s going on around Kenya today

Obama returns to his father’s homeland

President Barack Obama departed for Kenya on Thursday, his first trip to his father’s homeland as US president, kicking off a swing through Africa that will also include a stop in Ethiopia.

Obama, the first black US president, is the son of a black father from Kenya and a white mother from Kansas.

Obama is expected to meet with family members while in Nairobi, but he will not be traveling to the village most closely associated with his family name.

The trip will focus otherwise on security and economic initiatives as the president shores up his legacy on the African continent.

US President Barack Obama
US President Barack Obama waves as he boards Air Force One for travel to Kenya and Ethiopia from Joint Base Andrews, Maryland July 23, 2015.

Spirits high despite no trip to K’Ogelo

Despite a disappointing announcement by the US Embassy that President Obama will not visit his K’Ogelo home in Siaya County, residents of Luo Nyanza are bubbling with excitement.

In Kisumu, there is a celebratory mood as business-minded youth make a kill selling Obama merchandise.

The excitement can only be compared to that in November 2008 when Mr Obama, whose father is Kenyan, was elected to lead the world’s most powerful nation.

President Obama billboards have been erected in the town while some businessmen have renamed their businesses after him.

President Obama with his grandmother Sarah Obama during a previous visit to Kenya.
President Obama with his grandmother Sarah Obama during a previous visit to Kenya.

10,000 Police officers deployed for Obama visit

Nairobi County Police Chief Benson Kibue has announced that he will deploy 10,000 officers to provide security during US President Barack Obama’s visit.

Speaking following a briefing with police bosses from Nairobi County on Wednesday, Kibue stated that officers will be deployed to various venues, where President Obama will be and will work closely with the Secret Service in securing the world’s most powerful man.

He urged Kenyans to fully co-operate with security officials at all times and keep off events where they are not invited.

Kibue assured Kenyans that during the visit, nobody will be harassed and urged everyone not to fear moving around the city during the period.

“There is nothing that will be unique arising from the visit of President Obama. Nairobi will not stand still in terms of business, everything will run as usual and Kenyans will be proud to host President Obama here in Nairobi city,” Kibue said.

US security officials who will guard the President when he visits Kenya.
US security officials who will guard the President when he visits Kenya.

Nairobians defy State House to grant themselves a ‘holiday’

Nairobi central business district was virtually deserted Friday morning as city residents opted to stay away from the inconveniences expected during President Barack Obama’s visit.

Traffic flow on major roads and within the central business district was smooth, a contrast from the expected gridlock after the government had announced closure of major roads beginning Friday afternoon.

Most universities with campuses in the city centre also remained closed after students had expressed fears they would have problems going back home.

The impact reduced human traffic in the CBD is expected to trickle over to several businesses in town, including food joints, boutiques, restaurants, barbershops and salons ahead of the US President’s arrival.

The deserted streets at the city centre. PHOTO | COURTESY
The deserted streets at the city centre. PHOTO | COURTESY

Kenya lockdown as Obama comes to town

US President Barack Obama is expected to arrive in his ancestral homeland Kenya late Friday, with a massive security operation under way to protect him from Al-Qaeda-linked Somali militants.

Obama, making his first visit as president to his father’s birthplace, will address an entrepreneurship summit and hold talks on trade and investment, security and counter-terrorism, and democracy and human rights.

Parts of the Kenyan capital Nairobi will be locked down and airspace closed during the president’s arrival late Friday and his departure late Sunday, when he travels up the Rift Valley to neighbouring Ethiopia, the seat of the African Union.

Police officers patrol along a street in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi ahead of the expected touch-down of the President of the United States, Barack Obama.
Police officers patrol along a street in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi ahead of the expected touch-down of the President of the United States, Barack Obama.