Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Dear Obama, you denied us a feel good moment.

I've got a favourite song called "Obama" sang by the inimitable Chris Adwar and Villagers Band.

I love it so much such that each time I've got someone in my car, I ask them if they have listened to that song, especially if they are Luo, sometimes I play it on repeat.

Anyway, I've got mixed feelings about Obama's trip to Africa. On one hand I'd like to put on my Journalist cap and analyze what informed his decision,and scoff at international double speak of crimes against humanity, or say that it is duly expected that the Head of State of the U.S cannot stand with a country that voted in "criminals" as the top two have been referred to numerously.

But for now, I'll say I was a little disappointed that he didn't choose Nairobi as one of his 3 stops.

I have a favorite song called "Obama" sang by the inimitable Chris Adwar and the Villagers band. The song basically says what every African who has lived in a village identifies with, whole heartedly and passionately.

Here's an excerpt from the Obama song:

"I come from a village. When a Baby is born. It is not only the mothers, or only the fathers responsibility".

A child belongs to the village and he adds; "That is how I know, Obama is my relative".

It is an extremely hilarious tune that perhaps embodies the main reason why Kenyans felt like a bunch of neglected stepchildren when you 'skipped' Kenya in your African tour.

You see, we are one of the few countries that actually had a public holiday when you were first sworn in as a president of a country that's a continent and the atlantic ocean away and has very little over- amorous relationships with the governments, then and now and.

But Kenyan's still walk the streets in Obama wear and some shops still flourish selling merchandise that is Obama Centric. A part of our hearts own you. You are fondly referred to as one of 'us'.

Of course the men in suits have began analyzing the signals that you send by opting out of coming (home). Could it be that America wants to be disassociated with a country that voted in a leadership that is indicted by the International Criminal Court? Kenya has once again been bundled with Zimbabwe, as South Africa, Senegal and Tanzania are now gloating and repainting roads and buildings in true African fashion.

Sometimes, they say silence is the best comeback, and without saying anything you have sent us a thousand signals. I will not ignore that.

But the analysts, Mr. O, are few and far between, if I speak on behalf of the majority of us Kenyans who are still inherently and passionately Kenyan, it is a sad day. But don't worry, we will forget and move on.

I would like to sit back and assume like most views on the social media networks over the last few days that it isn't really a big deal you don't pass by, and that you are an American; an American President and not a Kenyan. But if you came by, those same people would be clamoring to get a glimpse of you.

Look, I know you wont add a dime to my income, you will not influence policy to reduce taxes, you will not affect what I as a regular Kenyan earns, you will not put food on my table, but still, it would be a feel good moment, if you came by. But, I am sure you've got bigger fish to fry.

But If you do come, I can assure you that there will be a celebration,even those tossing their weaves and moving on will be talking about it.That celebration will be BIG. Like a royal home coming.

Because you see, in Kenya, the child belongs to the father.


  1. I watched the Villagers perform that song once and I never forget it. ♪"That is how I knooooooooooooow , Obama , is my relative!"♪

    I caught feelings too about this "Obama skips Kenya" thing. However whether he comes or not , he will always be "our son" as you reckon.

  2. I am totally in love with Chris Adwar and Benganology! :-) My daughter sings along to Dan Chizi Aceda's music :-)

  3. I am not a Luo, but some how i feel a connection to Obama, "Catching feelings" as it is put by most, to me would be an understatement. Mr. US President (Mr. Obama) and all protocols observed, with due respect please read this and also read my line. I am a Kalenjin who is deeply wounded by your choice of stop overs in our hood just like my grand mom would be wounded in her soul if she happens to be told i passed by the neighboring home town and din't pay a courtesy call. Need i ask my self why she would "catch feelings"? Mr. O, should you ask yourself why we do too? Probably not!

    I know a friend who knows a friend of yours, you talk regularly and he was kind to you at some point, not in the US but here in Kenya. Please be kind to Kenyans especially to my brittle heart but we are not begging, it's just in our system to protect, defend, posses and love what belongs to us.

    Safe Journey Mr. O.

    To my sister Terry, I've known u for long, i thank you for writing this blog. I know you know some one who knows someone who can make Mr. O. read this........please make him do so. Kongoi

  4. Having worked together [albeit briefly] I don't think it'd surprise you if I said I disagreed with the argument you make here TC.

    Even if I agreed with your proposition [the child 'belonging' to the father] the sentimental value attached to BHO showing up in KE would be Pyrrhic at best, and most likely useless.

    Consider the euphoria Kenya had after Mwai Kibaki's entry into StateHouse. What good did it really do? Nothing. The same argument applies here, IMO. All a visit by BHO will do is shut down the capital for a day or two [which we can ill afford I think, we have an economy to build].

  5. You know people Obama is no longer ours. Never has been Kenyan - never will be Kenyan.
    He is American and the president of America.

    The people who come to Kenya and fall in love with the wildlife(like the Adamsons), or fall in love with the culture of some remote Masai village, or admire the go getter attitude of Nairobians(like Michael Joseph) and decide to stay here. The people who marry Kenyans, adopt Kenyan babies or call their babies "Kenyan/African" names.
    The people who do this are Kenyans because they love us for who we are and everything we represent.

    Obama has no love for us... so we should really be indifferent whether he comes over or not. If Xi Jinping doesn't come over I won't feel bad or hurt or denied "feel good moment from association". Obama and Xi Jinping are on the same level to me and right now Xi Jinping anaongeza more sufuria za Ugali and vikombe vya chai in terms of economic partnership with his country so he is a more welcome guest

  6. Okay. I admit to "catching feelings" in my last comment. You don't "catch feelings" if you are indifferent. Terry you are right this man of Kenyan origin who we "have feelings" for denied us a feel good moment.
    Oh by the way he is Kenyan - I checked Wikipedia

  7. Interesting read. Obama fascinates people the world over. In Germany last week, everything came to a standstill despite his so far less than stellar performance. I think deep down, most people black, white, orange are aware that experiencing a black man (if you can call him that) rule the world’s biggest economy is a feat not likely to be repeated in many lifetimes.
    And you are right, he has denied Kenyans a feel good moment.

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