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Jokes galore over Michelle Obama's no-show in Kogelo

Tuesday July 17 2018

Former US First Lady Michelle Obama

Former US First Lady Michelle Obama. PHOTO | CHRIS DELMAS | AFP 

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The decision by former US First Lady Michelle Obama to keep off her husband’s two-day visit to Kenya has stirred online debate, with most Kenyans providing amusing explanations for her no-show.

Adding spice to the discussion is the fact that hours after Mr Obama landed in Kenya on Sunday, his wife was photographed in Paris enjoying a concert whose main performers were Jay-Z and his wife Beyoncé, the American music power couple that is on a world tour.

Mrs Obama, donning a white outfit that included a pair of shorts ending way above the knees, attended the concert alongside her 19-year-old daughter Sasha.

Beyoncé and Jay-Z started their show at the Stade de France at around 8pm Kenyan time when the World Cup final match between Croatia and France ended.


It is believed that Mrs Obama went to Paris from Tanzania, where she had been vacationing with her husband.


Confirmation that Mrs Obama was in Tanzania came from Mr Gerson Msigwa, the Director for Presidential Communication, whose tweet at 2pm on Sunday was directed to the former US first family.

“Thank you former President of USA Barack Obama for visiting and making a long stay of 8 days to our beautiful country Tanzania. We hope you and your family enjoyed your stay in the endless plain of Serengeti. Welcome again and again,” he tweeted, tagging Mr Obama and his wife in the post.

In a briefing with journalists on Sunday, Tanzania’s External Affairs minister Augustine Mahiga said Mr Obama had wanted details of the visit to be kept confidential as it was a private trip.

“He visited the Serengeti National Park on a private journey, and we must respect that,” he said.


Some Kenyans think it is the all-too-common pressure from in-laws that made Mrs Obama shun Kenya.

“I can now accept that Michelle is a real African wife, reason? They never accompany their husbands to their in-laws! That’s given,” joked John Mutiso on Facebook.

“Wives, why do you detest your in-laws that much?” he wondered.

Sarah had a different opinion in a Facebook comment: “She can’t stand Kenyan issues like the corruption and homophobia, etc.”

Stanley thought it is not a new thing: “At times you leave Nairobi together as a family but because your wife comes from [same area], you drop her [off at] her parents as you proceed to see your folks. She might join you later or you will pick her [up] on your way back to the city. That’s the local version.”

But Kemunto also offered a different perspective on Facebook: “It’s actually okay for visits [to be made to each home] separately without raised [eye]brows. It’s 2018. The ladies also have homes and parents that they are deeply attached to…”

Roselyne joked that logistics versus culture was the real reason: “Obama has no simba (hut) at home... Same reason why Obama was to leave for South Africa immediately.”

“They forgot their marriage certificate, I guess,” joked another Facebook user, in apparent reference to the Sunday drama involving Laikipia Woman Representative Catherine Waruguru who was denied entrance at Sunshine Hotel in Kericho for lacking a marriage certificate.