Former United States president, Barack Obama, reconnected with his African roots in a sensational postpresidency visit after leaving office as president of the most powerful nation in the world. On July 16, 2018, the former US president who is of African descent and the first African to emerge President of the United States of America visited Kenya, the nation of his birth for the fourth time as Africa’s most worthy ambassador.
Obama had made previous visits in 1987, 1992 and 2015 when he was serving his second term in office. But the July 16 one-day visit saw him reconnecting with his family including holding talks with Kenyan president, Uhuru Kenyatta at the State House, Nairobi. After the presidential talks, he paid a visit to his relatives at his ancestral home of K’Ogelo. Obama also proceeded to South Africa to deliver the annual Nelson Mandela lecture on July 17. It was a visit the former president was not accompanied by members of his family. In a move to prove that he is a role model in international politics, Obama who also enjoys a bipartisan political stance in Kenya met with opposition leaders in an attempt to put Kenya politics in good light. After the crucial meetings, Obama revealed that Kenya is making progress in getting the government and opposition to work together.
He went as far as praising President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga for cooperating despite last year’s disputed presidential election. In his father’s birthplace of K’Ogelo, Obama made it clear that more needs to be done to face the challenges corruption poses on the continent before launching a sports and training centre founded by his half-sister, Auma Obama in a ceremony that thousands of Kenyans turned up amid funfare. Idolised in Kenya, residents took photos with the statues of Barack Obama, Mama Sarah Obama and Raila Odinga at the White House Hotel in K’Ogelo, Obama’s village on June 2, 2018 ahead of the highly anticipated visit. Obama had hinted during his 2015 visit that he would revisit Kenya upon leaving office to further explore the East African country and region when the political tension in the country is relaxed. “I will be back to Kenya next time, maybe not in a suit. I would also come with (my daughters) Malia and Sasha. My family loves Kenya. I know that there are still places in this beautiful nation that I have not discovered. I am going to make sure that I get back and it is not just Kenya, there is an ecosystem that is connected from Uganda to Tanzania. Climbing Kilimanjaro seems like something that should be on my list of things to do once I get out of here”, he said in 2015.
Obama and his half sister, Auma Obama, gave back to the society through her charitable foundation. Dr Auma Obama had returned to Kenya after a stay in Germany and United Kingdom to channel her energy into her charity CARE International Foundation known as Sauti Kuu. Her work focuses on working with girls using sports as a vehicle for social empowerment. Her works serves children and young people from urban slums and rural communities. It is a new sports and training centre situated in Alego, the village Barack Obama revealed his Kenyan family came from. Obama, the son of a black university student who met his father only once first visited Kenya in 1987. He was in Kenya in 2006 as a senator and 2015 as president amid world acclaim with Africans seeing him as a worthy son who had reached the pinnacle of power in world politics.