NATIONALNEWS

Nyanza counties ready to receive Obama

Baraka Karama  and Enock Amukhale

Former US President Barack Obama’s visit will be a private family affair. 

However, Obama, who is expected in the country on Monday, will meet President Uhuru Kenyatta and opposition leader Raila Odinga in Nairobi before flying to Alego in Siaya County to inaugurate the Sauti Kuu Foundation Sports, Resource and Vocational Training Centre on Monday.

The centre, run by Obama’s half-sister Dr Auma Obama, will be the first in the region and is expected to host world-class athletes. The centre comprises an international standard-size football pitch sponsored by the German government, a basketball court sponsored by the Giants of Africa Foundation and volleyball and netball courts.

Counties jostle

Details of his itinerary emerged  even as three counties in Nyanza jostled to have a piece of the former POTUS in what could pose a major logistical challenges to his handlers.

While Obama’s plane will land in Kisumu, his great grandfather was buried in Homa Bay  and Siaya is where he will be hosted by Auma.

In Kisumu and Siaya counties, preparations to welcome Obama are complete. Kisumu deputy governor Owili Mathews said Obama would make a brief stopover to meet governor Anyang’ Nyong’o upon landing at the Kisumu International Airport before flying to Kogelo.

He said big screens will be mounted at Jomo Kenyatta sports ground and Acacia Premier Hotel where residents will follow events without necessarily travelling to Kogelo.

The deputy governor termed the visit timely and important to Kisumu and the country saying it will strengthen ties between Kenya and the US.

“Obama’s visit to Kenya is timely because it has come at a time Kenyan leaders are busy uniting the nation. This visit will strengthen ties between Kenya and other countries,” he said.

At the same time, Malik Obama, the former president’s elder brother said he was unmoved by the visit and was not sure he would attend.

“Please don’t ask me those questions, just leave me alone,” he dismissed our attempts to seek his opinion.

He said visitors had started streaming to Kisumu ready to welcome Obama on Monday.

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