Obama is on the lips of all

US President Barack Obama (left) and Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta during the joint press conference at the State House,Nairobi. July 25th,2015. [Photo/Elvis Ogina/STANDARD]


For many Kenyans, United States President Barack Obama’s much-awaited visit would easily rank among the most memorable events in recent times.

It has finally come to pass that in this land of Hakuna Matata, we are playing host to the President of the United States, unlike in the past when we merely sat back and watched our neighbouring countries enjoy the limelight.

The visit has clearly eclipsed Christmas festivities, the Olympics, the good old World Cup and even our (in) famous general election.

Not surprisingly, Obama’s “homecoming” is a lifetime dream come true for many, and it has given rise to a crop of armchair experts who seem to know everything about the POTUS.

I have lately heard countless theories on the constitution of Obama’s security detail, as well as his plans for Africa and even his personal life.

Almost everyone in my circles has become an expert on US affairs.

People who have never boarded an aircraft have lately been explaining the complex workings of the Marine One, the US president’s official helicopter.

Back in my household, I have witnessed renewed interest in this grand personage.

Obama’s eloquent speeches, along with his endearing charisma and easy attitude have lately been the fare of countless debates.

On Wednesday evening, I overheard my sons exchanging notes on who is their favourite president, and Obama was top on Russell’s list.

“I love President Obama because of the way he cares for his family. He looks like a great dad,” he explained.

He recalled a recent incident where Obama spent some quality “daddy-time” with the First Daughters, Malia and Sasha, taking them on a stroll through New York’s Central Park, ending with a much-publicised trip to a museum.

President Obama can be seen waving to the crowds and even shaking hands with a street vendor, an exercise that has endeared him to many.

“I really wish he were my uncle. He is such a cool guy,” Russell explained.

On his part, Jimmy expressed his deep admiration for our very own Head of State.

In his opinion, Kenya’s Head of State is the most down-to-earth person he has ever known, and given the opportunity, he would happily welcome the opportunity to host him in our hacienda.

The debate raged on for hours, until the boys finally agreed that both Heads of State are excellent dads and refined gentlemen who can easily mingle with hoi polloi.

Later that evening, President Obama and his family were the main fare in our dinner discussion.

Mama Jimmy expressed her admiration for First Lady Michelle Obama, whom she learned has been working out at the gym.

Maggy emphatically relayed that she would happily take up a job with such a wonderful family.

“Daddy, why is Uncle Obama’s car called the Beast?” my little angel wondered.

She fondly calls him Uncle Obama, as I have forbidden her to refer to any adult by name.

“The Beast is a very powerful car, with advanced security features,” I replied with a smile.

“How powerful is it? Is it as powerful as our car?” she posed.

I laughed at this question, before explaining that our family car — a 1998 Toyota Starlet, can hardly speak of any power in comparison to the famous Beast.

Comparing our family chariot with the Beast would be like pitting a kindergartener against a university student.

“Uncle Obama hutembea kila pahali na tule tusichana twake?” she asked, referring to the First Daughters.

“No, they do not accompany him everywhere. Only on selected trips,” I said.

“Na Uncle Obama atatembelea shosho yake?” she wondered.

Few people understand the main purpose of Obama’s visit — which was to attend the Global Entrepreneurial Summit.

Thus, I calmly explained to the little one that President Obama had come for an official visit, and his itinerary did not include a trip to his father’s ancestral home.

We then spent a little more time sharing our experiences on this truly historic trip.