Villagers spent over eight hours waiting to see and greet their son in vain
5 months ago, 17 July 02:00
Residents of Kogelo Village were on Monday disappointed that their celebrated son, Barack Obama, left without addressing them directly.
The former US President's visit to his father's birthplace ended in an anti-climax after he evaded the public.
This was despite the joy and excitement that the villagers had expressed for the past two months when they first heard the news of his visit.
The villagers had gathered outside Sauti Kuu Resource Centre for more than eight hours hoping to be addressed by Mr Obama after the official ceremony.
Unlike in 2006 when Mr Obama spoke to the public at Senator Obama Primary School, the situation was different yesterday.
"We are disappointed that after spending more than nine hours here, it was in vain. We never came to beg, but just to see our son and greet him," Ms Mary Awuor said.
"This was not a visit to the village because Obama just addressed dignitaries at the expense of villagers. I came from Kisumu, and I wished to see him and just hear a word from him. This is too bad," Mr Norman Odongo said.
Despite nursery, primary and secondary school learners from Senator Obama schools lining up outside to have a glimpse of the former President, their efforts were in vain.
Mr Obama, who was driven from Kisumu to Kogelo — 60 kilometres away by road — arrived in Kogelo unnoticed without the usual sirens by security vehicles escorting VIPs.
He left the Sauti Kuu venue through the rear gate and avoided residents, who had camped outside for hours.
On his arrival in Kogelo, Mr Obama first visited his grandmother Sarah Obama and relatives at home before heading to Sauti Kuu for its launch.
A police helicopter hovered in the air to enforce security by both Kenya Police and the US Secret Service Unit.
Earlier, there was drama and excitement after some villagers attempted to storm Sauti Kuu area, where Mr Obama was attending the official launch of the centre.
Their joy was however short-lived after GSU officers blocked them from entering the venue.
Ng'iya-Ndori road that passes through Nyang'oma Kogelo trading centre was closed and only accredited guests and media were allowed through the way.
Police mounted roadblocks and check points along the way to block unauthorised visitors.
Traders in Kogelo tried to cash in on the tour by selling their merchandise such as Kenya and US flags as well as Mr Obama's portraits amid tight security.
Ms Benta Juma, who was selling the flags, said the tight security affected her job.
"We are trying but I have to admit it's so hard because of the tight security. They don't allow us to move freely," she said.
Mr Odongo caused a brief stir outside the resource centre when he demanded access, lamenting that he had come all the way from Awasi in Kisumu to see Mr Obama.
"I have come all the way from Awasi and Obama must speak to us," he said.
Siaya and Kisumu governors also depicted contrasting scenarios to security when the former US President arrived.
While Prof Anyang Nyong'o (Kisumu) bowed to demands ...
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