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US President Barack Obama to visit Kenya for three days, officials say

COUNTIES
By Cyrus Ombati | July 9th 2015

US President Barack Obama will be in Kenya for three days to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit from July 24, contrary to speculations that he would only spend eight hours in the country, diplomatic sources have said.

It is however not yet clear if he will visit visit Kogelo village as per the aspirations of his kin.

Meanwhile, White House seems to have won a debate on whether regional presidents should attend the summit or not. Sources say White House insisted if the presidents have to attend the meeting, they will do so as entrepreneurs, but not as leaders.

"They said the presidents will steal unnecessary attention and divert the main agenda of the summit. The summit is for entrepreneurs to uplift the continent economically," said a highly placed official who asked not to be named.

Obama is expected to attend the White House initiative, which gathers entrepreneurs and investors from around the world and is aimed at showcasing innovative projects and spurring economic opportunities. The visit is expected to command considerable global attention because of its huge symbolic importance. More than 1,500 people are expected to attend.

The plane carrying Obama is scheduled to land at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) on the Friday evening of July 24 before he proceeds to his hotel, which has not been disclosed.

He will then leave his hotel room for the summit on Saturday morning, where he will address the meeting.

Later in the day, Obama and his team are expected to visit the 1998 bomb blast site at the junction of Haile Selassie Avenue and Moi Avenue. The American Embassy used to be at the site before the blast took place.

The US president will later meet President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House, some Opposition leaders and civil society groups before holding a press conference. There will be an official dinner later in the evening which only invited guests will attend.

It is not clear where he will be on Sunday until around 7p.m., when his plane takes off from JKIA to Addis Ababa.

There are speculations he may sneak into Kogelo on Sunday. His kin, through their spokesman Malik Obama, wrote to White House two weeks ago making an invitation.

State House Spokesperson Manoah Esipisu has said traffic flow will be interrupted in Nairobi during the visit.

Ahead of his visit is a contingent of Secret Service personnel, some of whom are already in the country.

The visit will be Obama's fourth trip to Kenya. His first trip to Kenya was in 1987, when he sought his father's roots in a quest that was documented in the final section of his 1995 memoir, 'Dreams From My Father.' He visited again as a US senator in 2006 and in 1992, he made another trip with his then fiancee Michelle.

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