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

TEXT SIZE - +
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

Multimedia Anti-Keystone XL Protests Continue

Demonstrators are worried about pipeline's effect on climate change, their traditional way of life, health and safety More

Thailand's Political Power Struggle Continues

Court gave Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra until May 2 to prepare her defense over abuse of power charges but uncertainty remains over election timing More

Malaysia Plane Search Tests Limits of Ocean Mapping Technology

Expert tells VOA existing equipment’s maximum operating depth is around 6 kilometers as operation continues on ocean bed for any trace of MH370 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.
Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Messagei
X
Penelope Poulou
April 22, 2014 5:53 PM
Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pet Kangaroo Helps Spread Environmental Message

Children’s author Julia Heckathorn travels the world to learn about different ecosystems and endangered animals. She pours her knowledge into children’s books, hoping the next generation will right the environmental wrongs of our times. As in many children's books, the main character in Heckathorn's stories is an animal. Unlike those other characters, though, this one is real - a kangaroo, that lives in the author’s backyard. VOA’s Penelope Poulou has more.
Video

Video Pro-Russian Separatists Plan 'Federalization Referendum' in Eastern Ukraine

Pro-Russian separatists in eastern Ukraine say they plan to move forward next month with a referendum vote for greater autonomy, despite the Geneva agreement reached with Russia, the U.S. and Ukraine to end the political conflict. VOA's Brian Padden reports from the city of Donetsk in Eastern Ukraine.
Video

Video Pope Francis Hopes Dual Canonizations Will Reconcile Church

On April 27, two popes - John the XXIII and John Paul II - will be made saints in a ceremony at St. Peter’s Square. VOA religion correspondent Jerome Socolovsky says the dual canonization is part of the current pope’s program to reconcile liberals and conservatives in the Roman Catholic Church.
Video

Video In Capturing Nature's Majesty, Film Makes Case for Its Survival

French filmmaker Luc Jacquet won worldwide acclaim for his 2005 Academy Award-winning documentary "March of the Penguins". Now Jacquet is back with a new film that takes movie-goers deep into the heart of a tropical rainforest - not only to celebrate its grandeur, but to make the case for its survival. VOA's Rosanne Skirble reports.
Video

Video Boston Marathon Bittersweet for Many Runners

Monday's running of the Boston Marathon was bittersweet for many of the 36,000 participants as they finished the run that was interrupted by a double bombing last year. Many gathered along the route paid respect to the four people killed as a result of two bombings near the finish line. VOA's Carolyn Presutti returned to Boston this year to follow two runners, forever changed because of the crimes.
Video

Video International Students Learn Film Production in World's Movie Capital

Hollywood - which is part of Los Angeles - is the movie capital of the world, and many aspiring filmmakers go there in hopes of breaking into the movie business. Mike O'Sullivan reports that regional universities are also a magnet for students who hope to become producers or directors.
Video

Video Pacific Rim Trade Deal Proves Elusive

With the U.S.-led war in Iraq ended and American military involvement in Afghanistan winding down, President Barack Obama has sought to pivot the country's foreign policy focus towards Asia. One aspect of that pivot is the negotiation of a free-trade agreement among 12 Pacific Rim nations. But as Obama leaves this week on a trip to four Asian countries he has found it very difficult to complete the trade pact. VOA's Ken Bredemeier has more from Washington.
Video

Video Autistic Adults Face Housing, Job Challenges

Many parents of children with disabilities fear for the future of their adult child. It can be difficult to find services to help adults with disabilities - physical, mental or emotional - find work or live on their own. The mother of an autistic boy set up a foundation to advocate for the estimated 1.2 million American adults with autism, a developmental disorder that causes communication difficulties and often social difficulties. VOA's Faiza Elmasry reports.
AppleAndroid