K’Ogelo hopeful its most famous son will pay village a visit

T-shirts and portraits of American President Barack Obama on sale in Siaya County. PHOTO | TOM OTIENO |

What you need to know:

  • Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga says his greatest wish is to see Mr Obama visit.

K’Ogelo village in Siaya County is hopeful of a visit by its most famous and powerful son, US President Barack Obama, even for a few hours when he comes to Kenya next month for the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit.

Though there has been no official confirmation whether President Obama will visit the village, every indication in the area shows a people prepared for his coming.

When the Sunday Nation visited his step-grandmother Mama Sarah Obama at her home on Thursday, she was upbeat about her grandson’s planned visit to Kenya.

The construction of a pavement and lawn were under way to improve the look of the home. Her house had been spruced up with new sofa sets, and youths had been employed to cut grass around it. To cap it all is a new Sh2 million, tiled-floor house with a 20-seater guest room.

Like the African grandmother she is, Mama Sarah believes that, notwithstanding his grandson’s official capacity as the US President, Mr Obama will still be coming home as one of their own.

“He is my grandson. And his coming to Kenya is a big win for me. It delights me to know that finally, he has honoured a promise he had given me to come to Kenya not just as my grandson, but also as the President of the United States,” the 95-year-old said at her home that is now guarded on a 24-hour basis by administration police.

“He told me that he was waiting for political stability in the country before he can come. I am glad he has finally acted on the promise.”

Siaya Governor Cornel Rasanga said his greatest wish was to see Mr Obama visit the home.

He said: “The people of Siaya would love an opportunity to engage President Obama on things like water scarcity and food shortage in our county right at his grandmother’s home when he comes”.

Manase Oyucho, the headteacher of Senator Barack Obama Primary School, said: “When President Obama visited while he was a senator, we got police posts and roads, and even a secondary school. Now that he is President, we can only hope for much more in this now bubbly village”.

K’Ogelo resident William Odhiambo said: “We are more than excited when a son comes and is as powerful as my brother, Obama”.

And with the new renovations, President Obama will meet a completely new place if he goes there.

For Mr Oyucho and the thousands of Siaya County residents, nothing beats the feeling that would be brought by the landing of the US Marine One in K’Ogelo.

They bank on the fact that, culturally, President Obama has an obligation to visit his father’s grave.

In the meantime, Mr Ogutu said, a delegation had been prepared to go to Nairobi in case President Obama does not go to K’Ogelo.

“The outcome of his visit is bigger than K’Ogelo and much more than all of us. We have set up a team to entertain him from the county; make him feel at home even in Nairobi,” said Mr Ogutu.

Additional reporting by Tom Otieno