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Obama,family to land in Kenya today for Mama Sarah’s burial rites

Former US President Barack Obama lands in Kenya on Thursday to attend the burial rites of his late grandmother Mama Sarah Obama.

Mama Sarah, 99, died on Monday morning at the Jaramogi Oginga Odinga Teaching and Referral Hospital in Kisumu where she had been admitted since Saturday last week.

The plane carrying Obama and his family is expected to touch down at Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 7.15pm.

Obama will be accompanied by his wife Michelle and two daughters Malia and Sasha.

Upon arrival at JKIA, Obama will be received by, among others, his stepsister Auma Obama, ODM leader Raila Odinga, Kisumu Governor Anyang’ Nyong’o, Foreign Affairs CS Rachel Omamo and US Ambassador Eric Kneedler.

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Before flying to Kisumu en route to K’ogelo in Siaya county – his father’s ancestral home – Obama will pay a courtesy call on President Uhuru Kenyatta at State House in Nairobi.

Later, he will visit the Star offices on Waiyaki Way.

In a telephone interview with the Star, Obama said he is a frequent visitor to the Star website, adding that the site has kept him abreast of the happenings in the country.

“The Star newspaper is the best in the country. I can tell you I used to read the Star newspaper every day when I was President because it acquainted me with a lot of things in Kenya,” Obama told the Star editor.

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He added, “So, I plan to visit to see how you guys are doing, especially at this time of the Covid-19 pandemic.”

Obama and his family will then fly to Kisumu, where Governor Nyong’o and other local leaders will be at hand to receive him at the Kisumu International Airport.

The 44th US President will then board a SUV Prado to his late father’s ancestral home for the burial rites of his grandmother.

Obama will stay in K’ogelo for five days. He is expected to connect with the locals, visit and pledge support for the projects Mama Sarah initiated to improve the lives of residents.

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On Monday, Obama paid glowing tribute to Mama Sarah, saying she “helped fill a void in my heart.”

He referred to her as a family matriarch “strong, proud, hard-working, and unimpressed with conventional marks of status and full of common sense and good humour.”

“My family and I are mourning the loss of our beloved grandmother, Sarah Ogwel Onyango Obama, affectionately known to many as “Mama Sarah” but known to us as “Dani” or Granny,” he said in his tribute.

Today is April Fools Day.

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