Kenyans have taken to social media to air their views on US President Barack Obama’s two-day visit to Nairobi for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit.
While some have directed their energies towards tickling ribs, others have mocked and torn into the government over its preparation and handling of the landmark visit.
The Nairobi City County government, under Governor Evans Kidero, has been on the receiving end of barbs over its cosmetic beautification programme that has gobbled up millions of shillings in taxpayers’ money.
Kenyans on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp particularly took issue with Dr Kidero’s efforts to give city lawns a lush-green carpet of natural grass in less than a week.
The ambitious project suffered a blow after rain gods conspired and denied the city the much needed water soon after workers finished planting the grass.
The vegetation dried up after the county leadership chose not to irrigate it.
Photos and memes posted on Twitter mocked Dr Kidero’s desperate efforts to justify his plans and save his face and career.
Trending under the hashtag #KideroGrass, Kenyans hit out at the governor for blaming Nairobians for his missed green-city target.
On July 21, the governor tweeted: “We plant grass every year and people keep on stamping and killing (it). Please keep off #KideroGrass for a greener city.”
The county government has also erected signs, warning city residents to keep off grass.
In response, Kimani Njogu, [email protected], posted: “We need a commission of inquiry to determine why #KideroGrass is resisting!”
Dr Kidero’s followers advised him to go for artificial grass carpets or paint the city concrete green, and ensure President Obama wears green sunglasses throughout his Nairobi tour.
Li Guang, tweeting at @roomthinker, said: “Save money. Convince Obama to use green tint on his car #KideroGrass,” as Ma3Route, @Ma3Route, weighed in: “Obama apatiwe goggles za green while on Mombasa Road.”
Ahmed Mohamed™ [email protected], tweeted: “If you think that you have a lot of pressure in life, spare a thought for the grass in Nairobi being forced to grow in 3 days! @#KideroGrass.
This saw Pauline Njoroge, [email protected], post a meme of President Obama sporting green shades on a Nairobi county tour led by Dr Kidero.
In their mock conversation in the meme, Obama askes asks Kidero: “So you are telling me its Nairobi tradition for all visitors to wear green shades?”
Dr Kidero responds, “yes we have been doing it since independence’.
The harsh criticism and ridicule prompted some Kenyans, including President Kenyatta, to express mercy for the governor.
The President, while addressing the Pre-Global Entrepreneurship Summit, consoled the governor, telling him that the grass would grow.
“Hon Kidero, the Governor of Nairobi, don’t worry, plant it, it will grow,” the President Kenyatta said on Wednesday.
Other Kenyans chose to entertain followers of Twitter handles operated by local and international media outlets.
When CNN Africa asked Kenyans to list the places they would take the US leader if they were his guide, Dextrous, tweeting at @mainnel, for example, posted a photo of Sabina Joy, a nightclub on Moi Avenue in Nairobi.
The bar is as popular as it is infamous in the eyes of city club birds.
Another group used President Obama’s memes to mock Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi’s decision to visit State House in a bulletproof vest.
Many accused the Italian leader of portraying Kenya as an unsafe country following a string of terrorist attack by Al-Qaeda-linked Al-Shabaab militants.
They believe State House is a heavily guarded area and his protective clothing was totally uncalled for.
Students who recently missed out on Helb loans also took advantage of the Obama visit to express their disappointment.
Their fellow countrymen, however, hit back, telling them that President Obama does not have a solution for their woes.