Obama arrives in Kenya amid tight security

2015-07-24 19:59
Gallery  |  click on thumbnail to view larger image

This is what Barack Obama’s ancestral home looks like

United States President Barack Obama is en route to Africa for a three-day visit to his father’s homeland, Kenya. This is Obama’s first visit to Kenya as a sitting president. Though the country is excited to be hosting him, residents of Nyang’oma Kogelo are disappointed that he will not see the village his father was born and buried in.

Nairobi - US President Barack Obama has arrived in Kenya on a trip that will also include a stop in the Ethiopian capital, and a visit to the home of the African Union.

Obama landed in the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, on Friday and was welcomed at the airport by the Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.

At least 10 000 police officers, roughly a quarter of the entire national force, have been deployed in the capital Nairobi.

Parts of the Kenyan capital have been locked down and airspace was closed during the president's arrival, leaving some of the roads empty on Friday afternoon, usually the busiest time of the week when streets are jammed with cars.

The landmark visit to his father's birthplace is Obama's first as president, and is also the first time a sitting US president will visit Ethiopia and the AU's headquarters in Addis Ababa.

The first African-American president of the US is expected to address regional security issues and trade, and also touch on matters relating to democracy, poverty, and human rights in the region.


RELATED: Obama's 'homecoming' to Kenya highlights economic boom


'Fastest-growing markets'

Joining him on the trip is National Security Adviser Susan Rice, foreign policy aide Ben Rhodes and White House spokesman Josh Earnest.

Before heading off for the trip, Obama's fourth to Africa since taking office, he spoke about the promise of, and difficulties on, the continent.

"Despite its many challenges - and we have to be clear-eyed about all the challenges that the continent still faces - Africa is a place of incredible dynamism, some of the fastest-growing markets in the world, extraordinary people, extraordinary resilience," Obama said.

Obama has not yet been to Kenya during his White House tenure, with a previous trip delayed by Kenyatta's indictment for war crimes by the International Criminal Court.

Those charges were suspended last year - in part, prosecutors say, because the Kenyan government thwarted the investigation.

Democratic deficit

Obama's trip has also come under fire by rights groups, and more than 50 African and global human rights organisations have called on him to publicly meet democracy activists on the trip.

They voiced concerns about "grave and worsening" rights challenges in both Kenya and Ethiopia.

The charges against Kenyatta, and the fact that Ethiopia's government won 100% of parliamentary seats in a recent disputed election, has raised questions about whether Obama should have made the trip at all.

In Kenya, Obama will attend a Global Entrepreneurship Summit, aimed at promoting businesses that promise to lift many more Africans out of poverty and help insulate societies against radicalisation.

In Addis Ababa, Obama is expected to address leaders of the African Union, remarks that may touch on Africa's democratic deficit.

There are no official visits scheduled for Obama to see his relatives while in Kenya, officials said.

Al Jazeera's Andrew Simmons, reporting from Nairobi, said Obama is expected to meet his relatives in the capital, instead of his father's hometown of Kogelo. 

Obama has said he had "never truly known" his father, who was born in Kenya's far west, in a village near the equator and the shores of Lake Victoria.

An economist, he walked out when Obama was just two and died in a car crash in Nairobi in 1982, aged 46.

Obama has previously made personal visits to Kogelo, the home of many of his Kenyan relatives, most recently in 2006.

Read more on:    uhuru kenyatta  |  barack obama  |  us  |  kenya  |  east africa

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
9 comments
Comments have been closed for this article.

Inside News24

 
/News

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.