Obama to Forgo Kenya during Visit to sub-Saharan Africa

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Obama in Ghana in 2009White House

U.S. president Barack Obama in Ghana. July, 2009.

Speculation that President Obama would visit Kenya, the home country of his father, during his second visit to sub-Saharan Africa as president of the U.S. appears to have been put to rest.

Though a visit from Obama would have provided Kenya with good news to help cool things down after tense elections ushered in a new era with Uhuru Kenyatta as president, Obama is not currently scheduled to make a visit to the East African country.

Rather, the U.S. administration may be sending Kenya a subtle message by skipping the country while Obama is on the continent, according to the New York based Global Information Network (GIN).

“Kenya was scratched from the group, according to one news report, since being seen with the newly-elected president, Uhuru Kenyatta, who still faces charges of crimes against humanity at the International Criminal Court, would certainly spark a new crisis for the beleaguered president,” GIN reported.

Other plans for stops in Nigeria, Ethiopia and Rwanda are said to have been scrapped as well, according to the website AllAfrica.com

Instead, the president chose three other African nations for the trip.

The White House announced on Monday, May 20 that President Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia and Sasha will travel to Senegal, South Africa, and Tanzania from June 26 to July 3.

“The President will meet with a wide array of leaders from government, business, and civil society, including youth, to discuss our strategic partnerships on bilateral and global issues,” according to a statement from the White House.

In a presidential policy directive issued in 2012, the White House announced the U.S. Strategy Toward sub-Saharan Africa. The president is expected to speak on this new U.S. strategy toward Africa during his trip.

Obama’s first trip to South Africa since becoming president also raises the prospect of a reunion with Nelson Mandela ahead of the famed leader’s 95th birthday in July. But GIN reports that Mandela’s health is such a concern that any photo op would require delicate handling.

Obama’s first visit to sub-Saharan Africa took place during a July 2009 visit to Accra, Ghana six months after becoming president.

Meanwhile, Michelle Obama travelled to Botswana and South Africa in June 2011.

 

 

 

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