Skip to comments.Critical Obama loses 'favorite son' status in Kenya
Posted on 09/01/2006 12:53:55 PM PDT by NormsRevenge
NAIROBI (AFP) - Kenya stepped up criticism of US Senator Barack Obama, accusing him of insulting the Kenyan people and trivializing their achievements during a visit to his father's homeland.
Two days after abruptly changing its tone on Obama, who had been welcomed as a returning hero but incurred official wrath with blistering criticism of corruption and ethnic divisions, Nairobi launched a new attack on the lawmaker.
Less than 24 hours after the rising US political star left Kenya to continue an African tour, government spokesman Alfred Mutua blasted Obama for choosing "to dwell on non-issues" in a nationally televised speech on Monday.
"Senator Obama made extremely disturbing statements on issues which it is clear, he was very poorly informed, and on which he chose to lecture the government and the people on how they should manage their country," he said.
Mutua said the government would write a formal protest to the junior senator from Illinois who he suggested had falsely claimed his trip to Africa was intended to "nuture relations between the continent and the United States."
Noting the government had "spared no effort in making his stay and travel ... enjoyable and fulfilling," Mutua said Obama's criticism of Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki's administration was unfair, unwarranted and unjustified by facts.
He said Obama was wrong in asserting that Rwandan genocide fugitive Felicien Kabuga had bought protection in Kenya, that graft had plunged the country into "crisis" and that dangerous tribal divisions were on the rise.
Obama's comment about Kabuga "is an insult to the people of this country," Mutua said, adding he had "ignored" accomplishments in fighting corruption and boosting economic growth from near zero to six percent in three years.
"This cannot be achieved in a country, which Senator Obama says, is experiencing a corruption crisis," he said, before slamming the lawmaker for allegedly "trivializing" Kenya's ethnic harmony and "magnifying tribalism."
"Senator Obama enjoyed the vibrant freedom of expression and wide democratic space in this country during his tour," Mutua said. "Instead of acknowledging this... he chose to dwell on non-issues."
A day after Obama's stinging speech at the University of Nairobi, Mutua dsmissed the lone African-American in the US Senate and potential Democratic Party presidential nominee as "immature" and an opposition stooge.
But his harsh comments on Thursday marked a new escalation in animosity between the government and Obama, who left Kenya late Wednesday after a five-day visit during which he was accorded a rock star reception.
The son of a Kenyan goat herder-turned-government economist had been greeted by cheering crowds of thousands at each of his stops here, including a visit to his paternal grandmother in his late father's home village.
In his speech, Obama rebuked Kibaki's government for failing to address corruption and said Kenya's democractic progress "is in jeopardy... being threatened by corruption."
"Here in Kenya, it is a crisis, a crisis that is robbing an honest people of the opportunities that they have fought for, the opportunity they deserve," he said, urging the citizenry to demand accountability from Kibaki's government.
His blunt criticism made front-page news and drew praise from some commentators.
On Thurday Obama made a lighting trip to a US military camp in Djibouti before proceeding to the eastern Ethiopian town of Dire Dawa, where floods killed hundreds of people and displaced at least 10,000 others, officials said.
In Djibouti, he praise the tiny country on the shores of the Red Sea as an ally of Washington.
"In Dire Dawa, the senator visited a displaced people camp and called for rapid help," an official travelling with Obama told AFP.
On Friday, he is scheduled to visit eastern Chad, where hundreds of thousands of people who have been displaced by the Darfur conflict in western Sudan have sought refuge.
Kenya stepped up criticism of US Senator Barack Obama(L), seen here greeting his paternal grandmother Sarah Obama in Siaya 26 August 2006, accusing him of insulting the Kenyan people and trivializing their achievements during a visit to his father's homeland.(AFP/File/Simon Maina)
Kenya has stepped up criticism of US Senator Barack Obama, seen here on August 28, accusing him of insulting the Kenyan people and trivializing their achievements during a visit to his father's homeland.(AFP/File/Sayyid Azim)
Sometimes the truth hurts and you lose a few friends in telling the truth. Such is life. Corruption is at the core of many African national issues. At least Obama had the fortitude to say it.
Ooops, somebody moved the rocks in Kenya and Osama Obama can't walk on water - there - anymore.
As much as you may not like Obama, his criticism of corruption is warranted. Just because a poor and tiny economy has risen "6 per cent," it doesn't mean there isn't a corruption crisis. Third world politicians are self serving and corrupt as a rule.
These are all perfectly normal and acceptable activities in Kenya. /sarcasm
Hah, hilarious! Obama tries to tell it like it is and the corrupt government gets its panties in a ruffle. No big surprise. At least he ended up embarrassing these dopes in public.
Mr Mutua,that's how Osama Obama earned the title "rising star" in our democRAT Party.But then,being a Kenyan,you're obviously in no position to know this.
Ironically those are acceptable practices in CHICAGO as well.
I have relatives that live in Illinois, and they are really worried that Obama is going to end up the Democratic Presidential nominee.
Give him time.As he rises toward political superstardom,he'll reveal himself to be utterly devoid of core principles,just as every other prominent democRAT has done since JFK.
But then,has Osama Obama ever expressed any candid opinions on anything that Bill Cosby has had to say in recent times?
No,I didn't think so.