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20 interesting similarities between President Uhuru and former US President Obama you should know
By Mundia Kamau | Updated Feb 06, 2018 at 10:27 EAT
President Uhuru and former US President Obama
  • Both President Uhuru and Barrack Obama men have a great admiration and regard for their fathers and both men listen to alternative opinion
  • They were both born in 1961

1. Both men were born in 1961, Uhuru on 26th October 1961 and Barack on 4th August 1961.

2. Both their wives were born in 1964, Margaret Kenyatta on 9th April 1964 and Michelle Obama on 17th January 1964.

3. Both men are left-handed.

4. Both men are Kenyans.

5. Both men are Christians, though interestingly, both men do not have Christian names. Uhuru Kenyatta's full names are Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta, while Barack Obama's full names are Barack Hussein Obama.

6. The first names of both men are derived from the Kiswahili language of East and Central Africa. Uhuru means freedom in Kiswahili, while Barack is derived from the Kiswahili word Baraka. Baraka means blessing in Kiswahili. Kiswahili though, has rather heavy infusions of Arabic, infusions that extend to both Uhuru and Barack, meaning that the Arab world could also "lay claim" to both Uhuru and Barack. How and why? The Kiswahili word Uhuru is derived from Arabic. Freedom in Arabic is huriya or al-hurriyyah. The Kiswahili word Baraka is also derived from Arabic. Blessing in Arabic is barika. Strictly speaking, therefore, Kenya alone cannot lay claim to both Uhuru Kenyatta and Barack Obama, because Kiswahili is not just the Lingua Franca of Kenya alone, but of East and Central Africa (Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of Congo). Further still, East and Central Africa cannot lay claim to Uhuru Kenyatta and Barack Obama, because strictly speaking, both their first names are an extension of Arabic, meaning that Uhuru Kenyatta and Barack Obama can rightfully be claimed by the cradle of Arabic in the Middle East (Bahrain, Iraq, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Oman, Palestine, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, the United Arab Emirates and Yemen). Maybe the United Nations General Assembly should make a ruling on this matter. Over to you Secretary-General of the United Nations, Mr. Antonio Guterres.

7. Both men are from two big Kenyan tribes. Uhuru is a Kikuyu, while Barack is a Luo.

8. Barack Obama led a divided America for eight years from 20th January 2009 to 20th January 2017, while Uhuru Kenyatta has been at the helm of a divided Kenya since 9th April 2013. The divides in America are between the left and the right, Democrats and Republicans, while the divides in Kenya are along tribal lines.

9. Both men value their roots and heritage. Uhuru speaks excellent Kikuyu and very good Kiswahili, while Barack visited his ancestral Nyang'oma-Kogelo village in Kenya's Nyanza Province at least twice as a "nobody". This was in 1987 and 1991. Michelle was in the company of Barack during the 1991 Kenya visit.

10. " Word on the streets" has it that Uhuru drank heavily during his youth, while "word on the streets" has it that Barack smoked marijuana in his youth.

11. Both men have an excellent command of the English language and both men are excellent orators in English.

12. Both men picked up their oratory skills from their fathers. Jomo Kenyatta was an excellent orator, and the same applies to Barack Hussein Obama Senior. Of significance, Barack Sr. visited Barack Jr. and his mother for a month in Hawaii, USA, in December 1971. One of the highlights of the senior Obama's visit to Hawaii in December 1971, was a brief speech that the senior Obama gave to the junior Obama, his classmates and his teachers at the junior Obama's Punahou School. It was a speech that captivated and electrified the audience, and after this, the junior Obama got never-ending accolades, tributes, and compliments from his classmates and teachers, about how great a speaker and orator his father was. This is probably the single-most event in the junior Obama's life, 10 years old at the time, that shaped and moulded the junior Obama's sense of identity, consciousness, character, crisp oratory skills, and sense of ambition and drive, even though father and son never met face-to-face again after this, only exchanging letters between December 1971 and November 1982, when the senior Obama died in a road accident. In one of the letters the senior Obama and the junior Obama exchanged between December 1971 and November 1982 (as recorded in the junior Obama's autobiography, "Dreams from my father"), the junior Obama asked his father what he, the junior Obama, would become in life. The senior Obama responded by telling his son that "a river eventually settles at a certain level", a Luo saying. Quite a "river" that the junior Obama turned out to be, right?

13. Both men's fathers had four wives. Jomo Kenyatta's wives were Grace Wahu, Edna Grace Clarke, Grace Wanjiku and Ngina, while Barack Senior's wives were Keziah, Ann, Ruth and Jael.

14. Both the senior Kenyatta and the senior Obama were heavy drinkers at certain stages in their lives, with a preference for spirits such as whiskey, gin, vodka, rum, and brandy.

15. Both Uhuru's father and Barack's father studied at prestigious overseas campuses. Uhuru's father attended the London School of Economics, while Barack Sr. attended Harvard University.

16. Both the junior Kenyatta and the junior Obama, also studied at prestigious universities, and specifically so, prestigious universities located on the east coast of the United States of America. Uhuru attended Amherst University on the east coast of the United States, while Barack Jr. attended Columbia University and Harvard University, both on the east coast of the United States.

17. Both the junior Kenyatta and the junior Obama were political novices on the national stage in both Kenya and the United States respectively, before both were rather spectacularly launched nationally, three years apart. In 2001, Uhuru Kenyatta was nominated as a Kenyan Member of Parliament by then Kenyan President, Daniel T. arap Moi. Soon thereafter, Daniel T. arap Moi appointed Uhuru as Kenya's Minister for Local Government. The following year (2002), Kenya's outgoing President, Daniel T. arap Moi, chose Uhuru as his preferred successor on a Kenya African National Union (KANU) party ticket, but Uhuru ended up losing the 2002 race for the Kenyan Presidency to the National Rainbow Coalition (NARC) candidate, Mwai Kibaki. Mwai Kibaki garnered 3,646,277 votes to Uhuru Kenyatta's 1,835,890 votes at the 2002 Kenyan presidential election. Uhuru eventually became Kenyan President eleven years later in 2013. On his part, Barack's spectacular political emergence in the United States came via a captivating an electrifying keynote address that Barack made at the 2004 Democratic Party Convention at which John Kerry was formally launched as the Democratic Party candidate to challenge then US President, George W. Bush at the US presidential election of November 2004. Barack eventually became US President five years later in 2009.

18. Both men have a great admiration and regard for their fathers and both men listen to alternative opinion. Uhuru used to keep long hair like his father Jomo Kenyatta, long hair brushed backwards, as was Jomo Kenyatta's trademark. Uhuru Kenyatta's year 2002 campaign team advised against this, and Uhuru complied. Uhuru has not kept long hair since 2002. Barack on his part quit smoking cigarettes, courtesy of the influence of his wife Michelle.

19. Both men are humble and down to earth, men of the people.

20. Both men are sporting types. Uhuru played rugby for the school team at St. Mary's School, Nairobi, Kenya, during his high-school days, while Barack has been playing basketball since his high-school days.

Three other interesting links between President Uhuru Kenyatta of Kenya, and immediate former US President, Barack Obama.

(I) Barack is of mixed-race, while his wife Michelle is not of mixed-race. Uhuru is not of mixed-race, while his wife Margaret is of mixed-race.

(II) Barack's father was a senior economist at Kenya's Ministry of Economic Planning when Uhuru's father was President of Kenya. At the time, Barack's father wrote a scathing critique of Jomo Kenyatta's economic growth and development blueprint for independent Kenya, referred to as Sessional Paper No. 10 of 1965 on African Socialism, which in Jomo Kenyatta's words combined both "Western Capitalism and Eastern Communism". The senior Obama's dismissal of Jomo Kenyatta's Sessional Paper No. 10 of 1965 on African Socialism, earned the senior Obama the wrath of Jomo Kenyatta's inner circle, and as a result, the senior Obama lost his job at Kenya's Ministry of Economic Planning. The senior Obama secured a job at the Kenya Tourist Development Corporation (KTDC), after this, but did not last long at KTDC. While reeling from his second job loss, the senior Obama had the good fortune of bumping into an old acquaintance, Mwai Kibaki, at Nairobi's Hotel Intercontinental. Mwai Kibaki, Kenya's third President, was Kenya's then Finance Minister. The senior Obama did not mince his words and told Kibaki he was looking for a job. Kibaki asked the senior Obama to go see him the following week, which the senior Obama promptly did. Kibaki arranged for the senior Obama to be hired at Kenya's Finance Ministry, and the senior Obama was back. It appears that the junior Obama has never forgiven the senior Kenyatta for his father's dismissal from Kenya's Ministry of Economic Planning. When the junior Obama visited Kenya as Senator Obama in 2006 the junior Obama paid glowing tribute to the then Kenyan President, Mwai Kibaki, partly referring to Kibaki as a "good man who gave his father a job". Then-Senator Obama made no mention of Jomo Kenyatta and omitted laying a wreath at the mausoleum of Jomo Kenyatta, as is customary with visiting dignitaries to Kenya. For instance, Nelson Mandela laid a wreath at Jomo Kenyatta's mausoleum during his historic visit to Kenya of July 1990.

(III) Uhuru is from an "aristocratic" background, while Barack Jr. is not. Uhuru's father, Jomo Kenyatta, was independent Kenya's founding Prime Minister and founding President, and his paternal great-grandfather, Kung'u wa Magana (Kung'u son of Magana, born around the year 1846), was a medicine-man ("Mundu-Mugo"). Uhuru's maternal grandfather, Muhoho wa Gathecha, was a wealthy and influential chief in colonial Kenya. One of Uhuru's step-mothers, Grace Wanjiku, was the daughter of Koinange wa Mbiyu, who was also a wealthy and influential chief in colonial Kenya. Grace Wanjiku's older brother, Mbiyu wa Koinange, was the first African in Kenya to obtain a Masters degree in the year 1938, from Columbia University in the US. Mbiyu wa Koinange, Jomo Kenyatta's brother-in-law and Uhuru Kenyatta's step-uncle, would later become a powerful, wealthy and influential minister in Jomo Kenyatta's Kenya, nicknamed "The Prime Minister", because of his close and favorable association with Jomo Kenyatta. On the other hand, the junior Obama's Kenyan grandfather, Onyango Hussein, was a cook in colonial Kenya's army, referred to then, as the King's African Rifles (KAR).

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