Today at 3 p.m., Air Force 1 touched down at Dar es Salaam airport in Tanzania. This is President Obama’s first visit to East Africa since he became President over 5 years ago. As expected, it was Africa-style: music, dance and great celebration.
Kenyans are not too excited that he came so close, yet did not make it to his ancestral home. I am sure this was not a very easy decision for the Obama family, and particularly his daughters who would have wanted to see the village and graveside of Grandpa and Great Grandpa Obama. Kogello village, Obama’s father’s home where his step grandmother Sara still lives (pictured), is only a three hour drive from the Kenya-Tanzania border.
A visit to Kogello would have been a great homecoming for the Obama family and indeed for Kenya. We are glad to know this could still happen before Obama’s presidency ends.
Kenya also missed business connections with the 600 businessmen in Obama’s contingency. The recent discovery of oil deposits, titanium mining, the electric railroad from Lamu to Ethiopia, the Lamu port, Konza cyber city – are just but a few of the opportunities that could have garnered new partners from Obama’s entourage.
Kenya will miss out for now because of the choices we made on March 4. We brought into our leadership two gentlemen who have International Criminal Court issues hanging over them. Their cases at The Hague will begin before the end of the year.
This will not be an easy process for them or for Kenya. Yet it is a process we cannot wish away. It is vital that Kenya, as part of the civilized world community, adheres to the precepts of justice and order. Otherwise, we will give credence to the stereotype that Africa is a jungle where dictators and autocrats can kill, main and rape and get away with it. I would want to believe that this image of Africa will soon be completely confined in the dustbins of our past.
Please pray with us that the strong self-righting mechanism that we have seen in the last few years in Kenya will propel us into our divine destiny as a nation.