Obama’s visit sparks mixed reaction in Kogelo

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Residents voiced their complaints after it was virtually impossible to meet and greet Barack Obama
Residents voiced their complaints after it was virtually impossible to meet and greet Barack Obama

As many still try to analyze the pros of former US President Barack Obama’s visit to Kenya, many of the residents in Kogelo never imagined that they won’t get a glimpse him. Obama, who had come to visit his grandmother and the family, had also come to launch a youths sports and vocational centre project started by his stepsister Dr. Auma Obama christened ‘Sauti Kuu’ foundation. However, he neither addressed the residents as expected nor greeted them and many of them didn’t even see his convoy.

Some residents expected the former head of state to address issues regarding projects that would boost the society apart from the Sauti Kuu foundation, including the housing project, where grass thatched houses would be destroyed and replaced with better houses.

Security was heightened at the venue
Security was top notch at the venue

Most of the residents we spoke to had anticipated an opportunity to also air their grievances, “We anticipated an address from our son so that we can tell him our glitches as a community,” said John Omondi a resident Kogelo.

A student at the Senator Obama high school said they were disappointed as students for they had prepared poems and songs to perform, “We thought we’d recite poems and sing songs for the former president and also share our grievances with him. Our school is named after him but we lack many essential things like a dining hall, a school bus and many other things,” she said.

Other residents thought Obama would set up a university named after him as they had communicated earlier by their area legislator. They wondered why there was a heavy security presence yet the former president was visiting his home turf.

The heavy crowd outside the gate of the resource centre kept on chanting songs praising the former head of state, and they were further disappointed when Obama was whisked through a back door and his convoy headed straight to Kisumu International airport where he was meant to take his flight to South Africa.

Residents shifted the blame to Obama’s sister, claiming she made it hard for them to meet him by granting only a few people the chance to access the event.