Barack Obama returns to Kogelo - Daily Nation

Barack Obama opens youth centre in Kogelo

Monday July 16 2018

barack obama

Mr Obama (centre) and his half sister, Dr Auma, at Kogelo, Siaya County on July 16, 2018. PHOTO | JUSTUS OCHIENG | NATION MEDIA GROUP 

By JUSTUS OCHIENG'
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By RUSHDIE OUDIA
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Former US President Barack Obama on Monday returned to Kogelo, his ancestral home in Kenya’s Siaya County, on his first Africa tour after leaving the White House.

Mr Obama, who is not accompanied by his family, left the capital Nairobi on a private jet that touched down at Kisumu International Airport on the shores of Lake Victoria.

SARAH
He then travelled to Kogelo, where his grandmother Sarah Obama lives, by road amid tight security mounted by the Secret Service and Kenyan security agencies.

Kogelo, Barack Obama

Mr Obama (centre) and his half sister, Dr Auma, at Kogelo, Siaya County on July 16, 2018. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

His arrival heightened excitement in the once sleepy village that shot to global limelight after his election as America's first black president in 2008.

Kogelo is receiving its 'son' after more than a decade and villagers are leaving nothing to chance in their bid to interact with the man who once ruled the world.

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Mr Obama tours Sauti Kuu's sports and vocational training facility in Kogelo, Siaya County, on July 16, 2018. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Obama last visited the village in 2006 when he was the senator for Illinois State in the US.

But security men are leaving nothing to chance as they protect the 44th US president, who spent eight days on holiday at the Serengeti National Park in neighbouring Tanzania before jetting into Kenya.

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These villagers caused a stir outside Sauti Kuu Resource Centre when they attempted to enter the facility with this bull as they sang in praise of Mr Obama. PHOTO | JUSTUS OCHIENG | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Ng'iya-Ndori road that passes through Nyang'oma Kogelo trading centre has been closed and only accredited guests and media are allowed access.

Sauti Kuu Centre

A crowd gathers outside Sauti Kuu Centre, the multi-million-shilling youth centre Mr Obama is set to open. PHOTO | VICTOR OTIENO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The former US president arrived at his grandmother's home a few minutes after 10am and was received by family members.

They held a brief family meeting before the former US leader headed to open Sauti Kuu Resource Centre, the multi-million-shilling youth centre built by his half-sister Auma Obama.

Ms Ida Odinga, wife of Orange Democratic

Ms Ida Odinga, wife of Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila, arrives at Kogelo, Siaya County where Kenya's famous 'son' Barack Obama is set to open a sports and vocational training centre on July 16, 2018. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

In Kisumu, Mr Obama was welcome at the airport by Kisumu Governor Anyang Nyon'go in a stop-over that lasted less than 20 minutes.

Prof Nyongo, his deputy Matthew Owili and Kisumu Tourism County Executive Archie Alai accompanied Mr Obama to Kogelo.

Security was tight both at the airport and on roads leading to and from the airport towards Kisian, with police officers stationed at vantage points.

South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka arrives

South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka arrives at Sauti Kuu sports and vocational training centre in Kogelo, Siaya County ahead of its launch by former US President Barack Obama on July 16, 2018. PHOTO | ONDARI OGEGA | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Some of the guests who have already arrived in Kogelo for Mr Obama's function include South African singer Yvonne Chaka Chaka, Mrs Ida Odinga, wife of Kenya's opposition leader Raila Odinga, and Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga.

Anxious villagers were waiting with bated breath for his arrival this morning and hope that Mr Obama will address them.

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Security was tight outside Sauti Kuu Resource Centre. A man, who identified himself as Norman Odongo from Awasi, Kisumu County, was denied entry after he was found with a gun-like toy. PHOTO | JUSTUS OCHIENG | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Mr Obama last visited the village in 2006 when he was the senator for Illinois State in the US.

Following his arrival on Sunday, Mr Obama was driven straight to State House, Nairobi where he held a meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta, his deputy William Ruto and other senior government officials.

Siaya County Governor Cornel Rasanga makes his

Siaya County Governor Cornel Rasanga makes his way to Sauti Kuu sports centre which former US President Barack Obama is set to launch on July 16, 2018. PHOTO | AGGREY MUTAMBO | NATION MEDIA GROUP

At the meeting, President Kenyatta thanked Mr Obama for setting up his charitable foundation, which seeks to empower youth to become agents of change.

The former US president also met with Orange Democratic Movement leader Raila Odinga at Villa Rosa Kempinski Hotel.

After inaugurating the Sauti Kuu Foundation and visiting his ancestral home in Alego Nyang’oma, Obama heads to South Africa where he is expected to deliver the 16th Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture in Johannesburg.

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Mr Obama (centre) and his half sister, Dr Auma, at Kogelo, Siaya County on July 16, 2018. PHOTO | JUSTUS OCHIENG | NATION MEDIA GROUP

The visit to Kenya is Mr Obama’s first tour of Africa since he stepped down as the 44th President of the US in January last year.

This tour pales in comparison to his last visit in 2015. There was no Air Force One or the Beast, the two things that symbolise the power of an American president, especially while travelling abroad.