A hotshot lawyer in Kenya’s capital is prepared to offer President Barack Obama 50 cows, 70 sheep and 30 goats for the hand of his 16-year-old daughter Malia.
In an interview with The Nairobian, Felix Kaprono says he first “got interested in [Malia] in 2008,” when she was 9 and 10 years old during Obama’s first presidential campaign. “As a matter of fact, I haven’t dated anyone since and promise to be faithful to her.”
According to Kaprono, he has “shared this with my family and they are willing to help me raise the bride price.” His dowry offer, totaling 150 animals, is exceptionally steep by any standards, and a difficult offer to turn down.
He told The Nairobian that he has sent the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi a request that Malia accompany the president during his upcoming July visit to the country. If she accepts, he says, instead of popping champagne “I will surprise her with mursik,” a fermented milk drink special to his ethnic group, the Kalenjin. “As an indication that she is my queen,” he went on, “I will tie sinendet, which is a sacred plant, around her head.”
Kaprono also imagines that in marriage to Malia, “ours will be a simple life. I will teach Malia how to milk a cow, cook ugali [an African staple dish made of cornmeal] and prepare mursik like any other Kalenjin woman.”
Obama’s father Barack Obama Sr. was a member of Kenya’s Luo people. While inter-ethnic marriage is more common in Kenya than in the past, unions between Luo and Kalenjin people remain rare, and are an occasional source of tension. Last year, Kenyan newspaper the Daily Nation reported on a plan to ease an ethnic conflict across county borders through mixed marriages.
But Kaprono should be careful. One popular Kenyan Facebook post, claiming to highlight attributes of women from different groups, alleges that Luo women “are in love with first impressions… If you wear moccasins on the first date and drive a pick-up, she will dump you like rotten fruit.” On the other hand, it also suggests that they are “good cooks and bewitching lovers.”
Obama will travel to Kenya in July for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit, an annual international gathering that the Kenyan government will host this year. He previously declined to visit Kenya during a 2013 trip to sub-Saharan Africa, while Kenya’s President Uhuru Kenyatta was facing international charges of crimes against humanity. (Those charges were later dropped.)
This is not Kaprono’s first time in the news. Earlier this month, he proposed that the Kenyan government grant Obama automatic citizenship upon his arrival in July, since he was born abroad to a Kenyan citizen.
It is unclear whether Malia Obama will take Kaprono up on his offer. In February, the high school junior was seen touring Columbia University and NYU as potential colleges.
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