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Archbishop Okoth of Kisumu (Kenya): Obama is one of us

Archbishop Okoth of Kisumu (Kenya): Obama is one of us

The Archbishop of Kisumu Archdiocese, Zacchaeus Okoth has spoken to MISNA, the Missionary Service News Agency, about Obama’s visit to his ancestral home in Kenya.

“Young, intelligent, it was evident that he would go places. Now that he is the President of the United States we still feel he is one of us and we welcome him with open arms,” Archbishop Zacchaeus Okoth said to MISNA as he reminisced about a meeting and a handshake outside the home of Mama Sarah in 2006.

In 2006, Barack Obama landed at the Kisumu airport on Lake Victoria. With Archbishop Okoth and Obama’s step grandmother, who yesterday, Friday at the age of 94 flew to Nairobi to say “Nyakwara”, “grandson” in the Luo language, had then gone to his father’s village of Kogelo.

Kogelo is a village inhabited by 4,000, just Kim from Lake Victoria and 300Km west of Nairobi. Archbishop Okoth remembers the young successful Illinois senator then headed towards the democratic primaries that two years later would throw open the doors of the White House. “Since his visit everything changed in Kogelo: Maybe also thanks to Obama there are now tarmac roads and electric power,” explained the Archbishop. The people of Kogelo today are however a little more anxious. “There is no mention in the programme of a visit to Kogelo, and the US Ambassador to Kenya excluded a surprise visit,” said Archbishop Okoth.

The people however have not lost hope in a President “who is one of us.”

“No matter what CNN says with its coverage describing the country as a ‘hotbed of terrorism,’ Kenyans are simply enthusiastic: They believe Obama will help them fight al Shabaab, a Somalia-based militant Islamist group as well as help build a future of development,” stressed the Archbishop.

Obama is in Kenya for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit. He has since addressed the business summit and praised Africa’s economic and business potential.

The BBC quoted Obama as saying, “Africa is on the move… People are being lifted out of poverty, incomes are up (and) the middle class is growing,” Obama told a business summit.

(Source: MISNA, BBC)

Email: engafrica@vatiradio.va

(from Vatican Radio)

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