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As Obama heads to Kenya, he fulfills desire to visit the land of his father as U.S President


As Obama heads to Kenya, he fulfills desire to visit the land of his father as U.S President

By Dr. DUNCAN OMANGA

Special to USAfricaonline.com,  and USAfrica multimedia networks, Houston. Follow USAfrica at Facebook.com/USAfricaChido , Facebook.com/USAfrica247 and Twitter.com/Chido247 

There is a palpable yet understandable excitement in the country. The U.S president, the world’s most powerful man, will be landing in Kenya in just a few days.

The coming of the U.S president is rightly treated with the attention it deserves, principally because this is the first time a sitting U.S president is visiting the country.

Secondly, it marks a long-held but carefully concealed desire of the U.S president to visit the land of his father while still in office.

Conservative and often virulent politics in the U.S, coupled with complications largely associated with the ICC cases made it virtually impossible for the U.S president to even contemplate a visit in his first term.

Incidentally, the visit comes when Kenya is seized with serious social, economic, and structural challenges.

There is an unconscious, sometimes embarrassing, attempt by opinion formers and ordinary citizens to see this visit as an opportunity to solve some of our protracted problems.

If the visit is not seen in the right perspective, the entire event will likely end up a crushing anti-climax to many Kenyans.

Kenyans must look at the visit more for its indirect, rather than direct, effects. Hosting the US president is akin to hosting the World Cup.

You invest vast resources for a transient event. The indirect effects come largely from using those few days in the spotlight to showcase the country in ways that would normally not be possible.

Thus, tourism stakeholders and hoteliers who suggest that Mr Obama should withdraw travel advisories are in for some disappointment.

It is not the job of the president to issue or withdraw travel advisories. The best he could do for our tourism industry has already been done by the planned visit. It is now up to industry players to seize the chance and market the country.

Secondly, the US president should not be pressured to lift travel advisories based simply on the fact that his father was Kenyan; rather it should be calibrated purely on how our security has improved.

Similarly, the thinking that the US President is coming with a bag of “goodies” to “save” Kenya is one that should be dropped like a hot rock.

This discourse of an imagined messianic figure that will come from without and help solve most of our problems is totally deceptive.

Our problems are not few. We struggle with corruption, disease, and poverty. There is little that a US president can do to help us overcome these challenges if the solutions are not from us.

Those politicians and civil society groups asking Mr Obama to pile more pressure on the Jubilee administration to fight corruption and enhance “human rights” might produce good sound bites for prime time news, but unless the pressure and agitation comes from the Kenyan citizens themselves, there is little that the most powerful man on earth can do.23rd-anniversary-Logo_USAfrica23

Indeed, the visit by Mr Obama is not altruistic; rather, it is partly embedded in US interests and mostly the personal desire of the president himself to visit the land of his father’s birth while still in office. This is a tradition most US presidents have undertaken, visiting countries from which they clearly trace their ancestry.

For President Uhuru Kenyatta and his security team, the visit should be an opportunity to hear from Mr Obama how to think of security more strategically.

The US government, under President Obama, tactfully withdrew its troops from the mess that Iraq had become following the military misadventures by his predecessor. This has reduced homegrown terrorism in the US.

We can use this template to carefully interrogate our role in Somalia. In other words, a clear plan of bringing back our troops from Somalia is central in building a more secure Kenya in future than merely asking for withdrawal of advisories.

Still, other demands appear sensible. The clamour for more equity insofar as trade is concerned needs to be loudly and clearly articulated.

More important, there is a need to seek more latitude in having Kenyan produced goods access the US market affirmatively. However, at the end of the day, Kenyans will still have to save themselves.

Dr. Omanga is the head of the Publishing and Media Studies Department at Moi University’s School of Information Sciences in Kenya. ankodani@yahoo.com 

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Forthcoming 2016 BOOK: In this engaging, uniquely insightful and first PERSON reportage book, MANDELA & ACHEBE: Footprints of Greatness, about two GLOBAL icons and towering PERSONS of African descent whose exemplary lives

Mandela-n-Achebe-by-Chido-book-frontcover-Lrs and friendship HOLD lessons for humanity and Africans, USAfrica Founder Chido Nwangwu takes a measure of their works and CONSEQUENCE to write that Mandela and Achebe have left “footprints of greatness.”
He chronicles, movingly, his 1998 reporting from the Robben Island jail room in South Africa where Mandela was held for decades through his 20 years of being CLOSE to Achebe. He moderated the 2012 Achebe Colloquium at Brown UNIVERSITY in Providence, Rhode Island.“I’ll forever remember having walked inside and peeped through that HISTORIC Mandela jail cell (where he was held for most of his 27 years in unjust imprisonment) at the dreaded Robben Island, on March 27, 1998, alongside then Editor-in-chief of TIME magazine and later news chief EXECUTIVE of the CNN, Walter Isaacson (and others) when PRESIDENT BILL Clinton made his first official trip to South Africa and CAME to Robben Island. Come to this island of scourge and you will understand, in part, the simple greatness and towering grace of Nelson Mandela”, notes  Chido Nwangwu, award-winning writer, multimedia 
specialist and founder of USAfricaonline.com, the first African-owned U.S-based newspaper published on the INTERNET, in his first book; he writes movingly from his 1998 reporting from South Africa on Mandela. http://www.mandelaachebechido.com/

  Dr. Chido Nwangwu, moderator of the Achebe Colloquium (GOVERNANCESECURITY, and PEACE in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown UNIVERSITY in Rhode Island and former ADVISER on Africa business/issues to the Mayor of Houston, is the Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks since 1992, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the INTERNET USAfricaonline.com; CLASSmagazine, AchebeBooks.com, the USAfrica-powered e-groups of AfricanChristians, Nigeria360 and the largest pictorial events megasite on the African diaspora www.PhotoWorks.TV . He was recently profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering and impactful multimedia works on African and American interests. @Chido247


Boko Haram: SkyNews London interview wt USAfrica Publisher Dr. Chido Nwangwu on BOKO HARAM vs BUHARI (Nigeria’s President inaugurated May 29, 2015). Interview on May 30 (Houston) May 31 (London) 2015

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VIDEO #CNN special #CHIBOK Girls n #BokoHaram Live intvw wt the Founder of USAfrica multimedia and public POLICY networks Chido Nwangwu. CNN anchors John Berman n Michaela Pereira.  

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Comments

  1. Amaka Nze says:

    Whether they want it or not

  2. Amaka Nze says:

    He will always be a home boy.

  3. Alleluia.
    Over Due!

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