By Andrew Irumba
Former US President Barack Obama arrived in Kenya on Sunday for a much-anticipated visit as a private person.
Another superstar, Oprah Winfrey changed her trip at last minute to travel to Kenya with Obama as earlier planned, but confirmed she would join him in South Africa on Monday.
Winfrey is among 350 celebrities and notables travelling to Africa together with Obama. He will be in Kenya on Sunday and Monday before flying to South Africa for a series of events, primarily the Nelson Mandela Annual Lecture.
Winfrey’s handlers said that the iconic TV personality, entrepreneur and philanthropist will go straight to South Africa for a series of functions,skipping Kenya. She didn’t give reasons for not traveling to Kenya with Obama.
Obama and his guests will attend the launch of Sauti Kuu, his half-sister Auma Obama’s NGO for youth empowerment, in Kogelo, Siaya county on Monday.
Before they head to Kogelo, Obama and his family will pay a courtesy call on President Uhuru Kenyatta and meet Opposition leader Raila Odinga in a tightly scheduled programme,sources confirmed.
While withholding details of Obama’s itinerary, immediate former State House spokesman Manoa Esipisu confirmed that Obama will meet Uhuru on Sunday before leaving for Siaya.
Details of Obama’s arrival time and his tops were closely guarded for security reasons.
This is Obama’s fourth visit to Kenya,his ancetral home. His father was born in Kogelo,Kenya.
On Monday morning, Obama will fly to Kisumu International Airport where he will be received by Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o before taking a chopper flight to Siaya.
Obama will land at Ng’iya Girls School where he will be received by Siaya Governor Cornell Rasanga. He then will be driven to Kogelo village to inaugurate the Sauti Kuu Foundation.
After his Kenya visit, Obama will proceed to South Africa.
This will be his first visit to Kenya since leaving white House on January 20 last year.
He has visited Kenya three other times, in 1987, 1992 and in 2015 when serving his second and last term as US President.
Unlike the 2015 visit when Obama became first sitting US President to visit Kenya, on this trip he is travelling as a private citizen, albeit a celebrity.
In 2015, Obama was received by Uhuru and US Ambassador to Kenya Robert Godec in a high-profile reception that almost brought the country to a standstill.