Obama's Kenyan granny welcomes president's visit

2015-04-02 13:19

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Nairobi - President Barack Obama's Kenyan grandmother, known as Mama Sarah, has welcomed his planned visit to the East African nation saying it will fulfil a promise he made to her years ago.

"He told me that he was waiting for political stability in the country before he can come," said Sarah Onyango Obama, who is in her early 90s, speaking of the July visit announced earlier this week.

Mama Sarah was the third wife of US president's paternal grandfather, Hussein Onyango Obama, and lives in the small village of Kogelo in western Kenya which is home to a number of the president's Kenyan relatives.

Obama's late father was born in Kogelo and grew up there before travelling abroad to study, where he met Obama's American mother in Hawaii.

Obama's fifth visit to Kenya

Although Mama Sarah is not a blood relative Obama calls her "granny" and has visited her in the past, before becoming president.

"Even though we are excited about the visit, we will not compel him to come to Kogelo," she told Kenya's Daily Nation newspaper.

"What I am happy about is the fact that he will be visiting Kenya. And that to me is a win for all of us."

On Monday the White House announced that Obama will visit his father's homeland in July when attends an entrepreneurship summit in Kenya.

Political scandal

It will be Obama's fourth visit to Africa since becoming US president, but his first to Kenya, since taking office in 2009.

Until now political scandal has blocked a presidential visit to his ancestral home.

For much of Obama's time in power, Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta had been under investigation by the International Criminal Court in The Hague.

Kenyatta was indicted on five counts of crimes against humanity for his alleged role in 2007-08 post-election violence that killed an estimated 1 200 people.

The 53-year-old son of Kenya's founding father protested his innocence until the case was dropped in December clearing the way for a US presidential visit.

Read more on:    us  |  kenya  |  east africa

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