Report By Leo Odera Omolo In Kisumu CITY
On Friday night this week, Mama Sarah Obama will board a flight at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport, Nairobi for her long journey to the US to witness the swearing in of her step grandson, Barack Obama Jnr as the 44th American President.
Sarah is the head of about 8 family members from Nyangoma Kogelo village in Siaya District who will visit the US in their private capacity as family members of the president- elect, and will be staying with relatives .and friends while in the US.
And she is not traveling empty handed, as a praod grand mother she president-elect she is carrying with her some very special Luo traditional tribal gifts..These items include a three legged traditional Luo stool (chair), a fly whisk, and a shield, which are the symbol of leadership.
President-elect Barrack Obama jnr has his ancesreal family roots among the Luos trube of Kenya where his late father Barrack Obama was born and grew under the care of his step mother Mama Sarah Obama now aged about 87 years before he proceeded to the US in 1959 in search of higher education and got married to a white American woman in Hawai where he seared the president elect in 1961..
Her effort to carry with her a miniature spear hit the rock as it could not be allowed into the aero plane as it is considered as one of traditional crude weapon by the airport security system in both Kenya and the US. The spear according to the Luo rtradition is used with the shield to protect the world community.
She told this writer during an exclusive interview at her heavily guarded rural home at Kogelo village last Saturday that she was very happy with the election victory of her grand son.
She recalled her old days when she used to sell vegetables at both Ng’iya and Nyang’oma markets to raise money for paying for school fees for the late Barrack Obama Snr, the father of the US President elect Barrack Obama Jnr while he was still studying in a local Primary School,and later at the famous Maseno High School. On occasions she used to carry the bags on a bicycle and rode for six kilometers .
At times, she ws transporting the late Barrack Obama snr as a young toddler to the nearby school on her bike.
Mama Sarah also remembered how the late Barrack Obama Snr real mother Akumu parted company with her late husband Husein Onyango Obama in the early 1960s and divorced her husband leaving behind the late Barrack Obama snr while aged only 9 years, also left in her care and custody by their real mother Akumu were two sisters of the late Obama Snr
She spoke of the mutual respect the late Barrack Obama snr had displayed to her. The respect and love the late Obama Snr had displayed ton her,which was even more than a real biological son could extend to his real mother . barrack Obama snr, she said was a wonderful person and extremely intelligent .
Mama Sarah said she was extremely happy that her grand son had won the coveted **of Presidency of the United States, one of the most powerful Nations on earth, and appealed to the new President to work hard, take good care of all the American citizens who had voted for him, bring peace to the universe and remember the suffering poor in Africa and under privileged people in other parts of the world.
In Kogelo home, mama Sara Obama home village, those who bid her farewell included senior officials of Maendeleo ya Wanawake Organization Mrs. Patricua Apolli who leads the Siaya branch of the group to her home.Thegroup’sfinal traditional festival and final touches on cultural festival that is set to take part in January 16 at Kogelo Primary School to celebrate the installation of Obama as the president of the US.
Among those traveling with mama Sara are her son Said 41 and his wife Beatrice, Kogelo Community spokesman Nicholas Rajula and his wife Nelly The SenatorObama Kogelo Secondary School B.O.G Chairman Charles Ochome and the School Principle Mrs. Eunita Obiero as well as Lynn Yaya, a sister to Mrs. Ida Oginga, the wife of Kenya’s Prime Minister Raila Odinga.. Also traveling is Mama Sarah own son Said Hussein Obama and his wife Beatrice.
The Prime Minister himself who is currently on an official trip in India is expected to team up with the group in New York early next week though he is not on official list of the Kenyan delegation to Washington DC. Raila Odinga is a close friend of the Obama family.
Mama Sara Obama the 87 year old step grand mother of the US President elect said she was delighted that the date she had been anxiously waiting for had come for the inauguration of her grand son the US President, and her journey to the US to attend the occasion means a lot to her family in particular and Kenyans and all the world citizens in general.
I am sure when he sees me he will be very happy because he will have seen his own blood relative around.
I am also going to be Kenya’s extraordinary ambassador during that very special occasionsaid the smilling Mama Sarah Obama.,
During my visit to Mama Sara Obama’s village this writer had learned that the local administration had issued strict rules*requiring those seeking to interview Mama Sara at her home. And most journalists are required to obtain special permission from the local DC in Siaya town about 10km away before talking to the great grand old lady
It was also established that there had been a tug of war over who should be the spokesman of the Obama family. This has caused a lot of friction within the family. And on one occasion had to be Malikc Obama the President Obama’s step brother allegedly trried to assault Mama Sarah Obama and other family members forcing the police intervention, and calm the situation after a brief fist skirmishes.
The discontent in the Obama family came to the surface recently emerging from a long standing dispute between Mama Sara Obama and her step grand son Malik Obama aged 50 who recently returned from a pilgrimage in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.
Malik who is a step grand son according to Sara put his own homestead on mama Sara Obama’s parcel of land. He left the homestead secretly in the absence of Mama Sara who had traveled to Karachuonyo to see other members of the family. It is mama Sara who had the land title deed registered in her own name and ast as tradition nor and virtue required Malik to sought for her permission first before constructing any structures.
But Mama Sara says Malik who is aged 50 years who is the first child of the late Barrack Obama Snr and his first wife Kezia is said to have forcefully constructed his own home,and fenced it off and is alleged and rumoured to havesought for cash donations from some Arab Moslem countries to enable him construct a Mosque on he same land without Sarah Obama’s permission.
Upon his return Malik is said to have to have started the foundation of the proposed mosque without Mama Sara’s permission. But she he was only prevailed upon not to take legal action against Malik by the immediate members of the family during BARRACK Obama Jnr Presidential campaign in the US since the publicity could have impacted to it negatively. But she said plans are underway of evicting Malik out of the land in the near future.
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Date: Wed, 14 Jan 2009 06:38:15 -0800 [08:38:15 AM CST]
From: Leo Odera Omolo
Subject: MAMA SARAH OBAMA IS LEADING A STRONG FAMILY DELEGATION TO WASHINGTON D.C TO WITNESS THE SWEARING IN OF THE NEW US PRESIDENT NEXT WEEK