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Kenyan Leaders Herald Obama’s Arrival To Ancestral Homeland

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Erica Wenig Contributor

Kenyan leaders anticipated President Barack Obama’s first visit to his ancestral homeland as commander-in-chief, arriving in Nairobi Friday.

President Uhuru Kenyatta told Agence France Presse, “I need not tell you how eagerly we have all waited for the day, or how keen we all are to make it the most memorable of homecomings.” (RELATED: Hotshot Kenyan Lawyer Offers Obama Lots Of Goats For Malia)

Nairobi Gov. Evans Kidero told the agency Obama’s visit is “a vote of confidence for our city and our country.” In a television interview, Kidero said, “The excitement is palpable.”

Kenyan newspapers were splashed with the Swahili word “Karibu” to welcome the president. Another paper promised “a spectacular reception for a son of the soil,” AFP reported.

Kenyan officials undertook massive security measure to prepare the country for Obama’s visit, guarding against potential attacks by al-Shabab, the al-Qaida-linked militant group in Somalia. Earlier this year, al-Shabab massacred more than 140 Christian university students in Garissa.

The Guardian interviewed young Kenyan boys named Barack Obama in honor of the American president. The boys’ families expressed high ambitions for their sons. “That name alone is like magic. When it is mentioned, it stirs something in me. I know he will go far. He’s not somebody to remain down here,” one father told The Guardian.

Obama will attend an entrepreneurship summit in Nairobi, addressing trade and regional security, before visiting African Union headquarters in nearby Ethiopia.

The president isn’t scheduled to meet any relatives while in Kenya, Al Jazeera reports. Obama’s father, who was born in a western village, died in 1982.

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