June 17, 2019

Key Issues to be Addressed by President Obama on Visit


By Calvin Osiemo

The long awaited visit by the President of the United States of America Barrack Obama is finally here. President Obama is jetting in the country on Friday evening but what has been lingering in the minds of many is exactly what POTUS will address while in the country. Among the key issues President Obama is expected to focus on include trade, security, terrorism, human rights among other matters. Following recent security threats by terrorist activities in the country, security talks will be central to discussions between President Uhuru Kenyatta and President Obama.

President Uhuru Kenyatta has said that Kenya is working closely with America to counter the terrorism vice that is a global challenge which should be combated collectively. The war against terrorism runs back to 1998 when the American Embassy in Nairobi was bombed with Al-Qaeda claiming responsibility. Kenya has been facing a challenge from the Al-Shabaab, an Al-Qaeda linked group, which has its base in Somalia with their latest attack being the Garissa University attack that left at least 148 people dead. Kenyan troops went to Somalia in 2011 to fight the extremist and the KDF are currently working under the AMISOM umbrella.

President Obama is however in the country purposely to attend the Global Entrepreneurship Summit which he will address on Saturday. The summit will showcase Kenya’s investment opportunities in different sectors including infrastructure and health. The challenging issue for Kenya however is a string of corruption concern and reputation with the country looking forward to encourage external investors to take up investment opportunities to spur economic growth. Out of 175 countries globally, Kenya takes position 145 on the corruption index according to reports by Transparency International.

The most controversial topic expected to be addressed by President Obama is on the same sex marriage. In the past, most Kenyan leaders have come out warning Obama not to campaign for gay rights while in the country as it is against the African customs. In an interview with the BBC on Thursday before leaving the US, Obama said that gay rights are human rights and thereof no need to discriminate anybody based on their sexual orientation.

“I am not a fan of discrimination and bullying of anybody on the basis of race, on the basis of religion, on the basis of sexual orientation or gender,” President Obama said.

Another key agenda is the ICC issue in which Deputy President William Ruto and Radio Journalist Joshua Arap Sang are still facing charges at the Hague-based court over the violence that rocked Kenya after the 2007 General Elections. The US protocol had however earlier indicated that Obama will not hold talks with DP Ruto.

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