SUNDAY, MAY 17, 2015

Barack Obama set to visit K’Ogelo

Mama Sarah Obama speaks at a past event. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE
Mama Sarah Obama speaks at a past event. FILE PHOTO | JEFF ANGOTE |  NATION MEDIA GROUP
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American President Barack Obama will spend three hours at his father’s Nyang’oma K’ogelo birthplace in Siaya County during his visit to Kenya in July.
A spokesman for the US President’s family in Kenya on Sunday said Mr Obama would include a visit to his father’s ancestral home in his itinerary, when he visits for the Global Entrepreneurship Conference.
The US embassy in Nairobi could, however, not confirm the Nyang’oma K’ogelo trip.
“The details of President Obama’s itinerary while in Kenya are still being designed,” said a statement from the embassy’s press office.
“Only two events are confirmed at this point: The President will participate in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit and meet with President Kenyatta”.
But in a telephone interview on Sunday, Mama Sarah Obama’s personal aide, Mr Henry Sidiga, said she recently met the US President in New York “and he promised to visit the country and K’ogelo before his term as president ends”.
Governors from Nyanza had asked the US President to consider visiting his ancestral home when he comes to Kenya.
Kisumu Governor Jack Ranguma and his Siaya counterpart, Mr Cornel Rasanga, have lobbied for Mr Obama’s visit to the region, saying it would boost its tourism potential.
Preparation for welcoming Mr Obama to his father’s ancestral home have been going on.
Mr Joseph Oguttu, the Siaya County Tourism Chief Officer told the Nationthat the county government had started beautifying the grave of President Obama’s father, Mr Barack Obama Senior.
The project will cost about Sh1 million, said the official.
“Renovation work at the grave in honour of Barack Obama Senior are on at the home of Mama Sarah Obama,” said Mr Oguttu. The county intends to elevate the burial site into a monument.
Meanwhile, Mr Sidiga, who arrived with Mama Sarah from a trip to Canada, said her meeting with Canadian government officials led to an agreement for provision of free eye treatment to least 10,000 Siaya residents in October.