News / USA

Obama to Skip Kenya on Africa Tour

Obama to Skip Kenya on Africa Touri
X
June 21, 2013 10:30 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama begins his much-anticipated tour of Africa on June 27th, with one glaring omission: the president will not be visiting Kenya, the birthplace of his father. East Africa Correspondent Gabe Joselow reports a sticky political situation may be the reason.

Obama to Skip Kenya on Africa Tour

Gabe Joselow
U.S. President Barack Obama begins his much-anticipated tour of Africa on June 27 with one glaring omission: the president will not be visiting Kenya, the birthplace of his father. 

Obama's ancestral home is a tiny town called Kogelo in western Kenya. His name adorns schools and restaurants there and members of his family still live in the area.

And while many hoped he might visit the area on his tour of Africa, Obama will not be calling on Kogelo or any other place in Kenya. His only East African stop will be in neighboring Tanzania.

The president’s uncle, said the family will always welcome him home but has come to understand that the president has to represent American interests first.

“Many people thought that a lot of things will be coming around, which has not been the case. But I wouldn’t blame it on the president, it’s the American foreign policy, and we just have to accept that that’s the way it works,” stated Said Obama.

President Obama's trip to AfricaPresident Obama's trip to Africa
x
President Obama's trip to Africa
President Obama's trip to Africa
Obama last visited Kenya in 2006 when he was still a U.S. Senator. And while he is certainly under no obligation to visit the country again as a sitting president, his decision not to does raise questions about the strength of U.S.-Kenyan relations.

One challenge was the election in March of President Uhuru Kenyatta, who is facing crimes against humanity charges at the International Criminal Court (ICC).   The U.S. supports the ICC process, though it is not a signatory.

Adams Oloo, Political Science Chair at the University of Nairobi, said the U.S. president is likely trying to avoid a potentially embarrassing situation. “I think it will look a little bit crude if he were to step into Kenya, it would be like endorsing their leadership. And I think, rather than be viewed that way, he’d rather skip Kenya and go to Tanzania instead.”

U.S. officials cautioned Kenyan voters ahead of the election that “choices have consequences” - a veiled warning that electing ICC indictees could compromise relations.

Government spokesman, Muthui Kariuki, said, despite the warning, relations with the U.S. are still good.  And there are no hurt feelings about Obama’s itinerary. “This is not the first time an American president is coming to Africa and has not visited Kenya. We have no reason to worry and no, we are not disappointed," he said. "We continue with our business as usual.”

So for now, sleepy Kogelo will be spared the glitz and glamor of a presidential visit.
But it is still early in president Obama’s second term, and many here say “maybe next time.”

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Yoshi from: Sapporo
June 24, 2013 5:04 AM
It looks a wise choice for Obama to have skipped Kenya in this trip. Unnecessary impact on an awaiting election would be avoided.


by: Jacob
June 23, 2013 12:08 AM
And the tour to Zimbabwe ? mmmmm


by: Grace from: South Africa
June 21, 2013 12:37 PM
President Obama is under no obligation to visit Kenya. He is on an oficial visit, business of which have nothing to do with Kenya. I do not think there is any gain whatsover by his visit, it really is a blessing that he skips Kenya. The security detail that follow him everywhere is not worth the pain of hosting him. So thank you President Obama for saving Kenya the trouble

In Response

by: Xaaji Dhagax from: Somalia
June 24, 2013 3:14 PM
The reason for Obama not to visit Kenya is not to safe Kenyans the trouble and pain of hosting him. Obama does not want Americans to see him shaking hands with current Kenyan president, Kenyatta, whom the world accused him of "tribal war criminal".

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid