Former US President Barack Obama’s grandmother Sarah Obama will continue to enjoy 24-hour police protection, the Government has said.
Her home in Kogelo, Siaya County, will remain a protected area and those seeking to visit will continue to be vetted by police stationed outside her compound. Siaya County Administration Police Commandant Ben Abuga said Mama Sarah would retain the security unless his bosses ordered him to redeploy the officers.
Mama Sarah’s home was secured after Obama won the US presidency in 2008.
Alego Usonga Deputy County Commissioner Joseph Sawe revealed that they planned to visit the home.
“We are going to visit Mama Sarah next week to find out how she is coping with news of her grandson’s exit from the White House,” he said.
Before she was sucked into the global limelight in 2006, Sarah was a humble woman who sold vegetables in the dusty Kogelo market.
Her home had neither a fence nor a gate. There was no electricity and she walked a long distance in search of water. Villagers visiting her to buy household goods from her semi-permanent house walked in and out at will.
But things changed suddenly after Obama won the Illinois Senate seat and began exhibiting signs of running for the top seat in the world’s most powerful country. As if by magic, guests came pouring in to visit this African grandma whose grandchild suddenly wielded so much power.
Local and international journalists, tourists and researchers swarmed to her little house daily, requesting interviews and photo sessions. As Obama’s profile rose, so did Mama Sarah’s. Her privacy shrunk and her security became a matter of concern.
“Sometimes she spent the whole day welcoming visitors and answering questions from the media. She hardly found time to attend to her garden and livestock like before. This was part of the price to be paid for being the grandmother of a celebrity,” said her son, Said Obama.
Mama Sarah’s life changed forever when Obama was eventually elected the 44th President of the US.