Former US President Barack Obama has been appointed as Special Envoy for US Diplomacy (SED) and will be resettling in Kenya for at least a year.
The deployment was nominated by President Joe Biden, Obama’s Vice President between 2009 and 2016, and was confirmed by the US Senate. Obama expressed his gratitude, paying tribute to the land of his father and forefathers.
He plans to set up an office outside Nairobi to better understand devolution and coordinate among counties before seeking an enhanced diplomatic partnership between Kenya and the US. While his stay was initially speculated to be in Siaya, Kajiado, Lamu, or Mandera, recent sightings suggest that he may settle in Nyeri, where a grand and highly secured ultramodern block has come up behind Governor Mutahi Kahiga’s official residence.
Obama is also expected to shoot his documentary “In The Land of My Father” in Nairobi with the help of local filmmakers, featuring narration by Morgan Freeman and Sir David Attenborough.
Obama’s mission is believed to have been his own initiative after his 2015 visit to Kenya as president. His inner circle says that he was “truly impressed” by the country’s political and economic potential, and negotiated with President Biden to have this deployment.
The plans to send Obama to Kenya were solidified during President William Ruto’s US December visit and Dr Jill Biden’s visit to Kenya earlier this year. While it is not clear if Obama will be accompanied by his wife Michelle, his daughters Malia and Sasha will be in the country, and may engage in high-level political meetings for the first time. Obama may also explore the possibility of talking to opposition leader Raila Odinga over the ongoing anti-government protests, with top leadership believing that Obama could prevail over the opposition.