Obama: I will return to K’Ogelo
US President Barack Obama has promised to do more to assist Kenyans and to visit his ancestral home in K’Ogelo when he retires at the end of his second term in January 2017.
At that time, he said, he will be able to do more than he can now, where he is restricted to interacting with governments, non-governmental organisations and other bodies that represent the people.
President Obama effectively made a commitment to come back to Kenya without the encumbering trappings of power and the restrictions that were evident during his weekend in the land of his father.
He spoke about the matter at a press conference at State House in Nairobi on Saturday as he responded to a question about his discussions with his paternal family over dinner after his arrival on Friday night.
“Part of the challenge that I have had during the course of my presidency has been that given the demands of the job and the security bubble, I can’t come here and just go upcountry and visit for a week and meet everybody,” he said.
President Obama said he had to beg for forgiveness from his relatives for not seeing them as often as they would have desired.
“Once I am a private citizen, I will have more freedom to reconnect and to be involved and engaged in the work that needs to be done because some of these communities are very poor,” he said.
He said that ironically, he is more restricted now as President than he will be once he becomes a private citizen when he can give more “hands-on” help.
“In my relationship to Kenya, I’m restricted to operating as the President of the United States and my interaction is with the government and the not-for-profit and organisations that represent all the people of a particular country,” he added.