Obama dines with Kenyan family after arriving in father's homeland

Before you go, we thought you'd like these...
Kenyan Villagers Hope For A Visit From President Obama

U.S. President Barack Obama dined with his step-grandmother, his half-sister and other extended family members after arriving in Kenya for his first presidential visit to his father's homeland on Friday.

Obama's plane, Air Force One, landed in the evening in the Kenyan capital, where he will co-host a conference on boosting entrepreneurs in Africa before traveling on to Ethiopia.

After being greeted by President Uhuru Kenyatta and other top Kenyan officials, Obama was whisked through the capital.

See photos of President Obama in Kenya:
14 PHOTOS
Obama arrives in Kenya
See Gallery
Obama dines with Kenyan family after arriving in father's homeland
President Barack Obama waves as he arrives at Kenyatta International Airport, on Friday, July 24, 2015, in Nairobi, Kenya. Obama is traveling on a two-nation African tour where he will become the the first sitting U.S. president to visit Kenya and Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
US President Barack Obama disembarks from Air Force One upon arrival at Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, July 24, 2015. Obama arrived in Africa on a five-day tour with stops in his father's homeland of Kenya, before traveling to Ethiopia. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
President Barack Obama waves as he walks with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta to sign a guest book after arriving at Kenyatta International Airport, on Friday, July 24, 2015, in Nairobi, Kenya. Obama's link to Kenya, where he began his first visit as U.S. president, is a father he barely knew but whose influence can nonetheless be seen in his son's presidency. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Eight year-old Joan Wamaitha greets President Barack Obama with flowers as he arrives at Kenyatta International Airport, on Friday, July 24, 2015, in Nairobi, Kenya. Obama's link to Kenya, where he began his first visit as U.S. president Friday, is a father he barely knew but whose influence can nonetheless be seen in his son's presidency. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
US President Barack Obama receives flowers from Joan Wamaitha, 8, upon his arrival at Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi on July 24, 2015. US President Barack Obama arrived in Kenya late today, his first visit to the country of his father's birth since his election as president. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
U.S. President Barack Obama waves after being greeted by Kenya's President Uhuru Kenyatta, right, on his arrival at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya Friday, July 24, 2015. Obama began his first visit to Kenya as U.S. president Friday. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, right, watches as President Barack Obama, center, hugs his half-sister, Auma Obama, after he arrived at Kenyatta International Airport, on Friday, July 24, 2015, in Nairobi, Kenya. Obama is traveling on a two-nation African tour where he will become the the first sitting U.S. president to visit Kenya and Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, right, watches as President Barack Obama, center, hugs his half-sister Auma Obama, after he arrived at Kenyatta International Airport, on Friday, July 24, 2015, in Nairobi, Kenya. Obama is traveling on a two-nation African tour where he will become the the first sitting U.S. president to visit Kenya and Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
US President Barack Obama (L) signs a guestbook alongside Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta upon arrival on Air Force One at Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, July 24, 2015. Obama arrived in Africa on a five-day tour with stops in his father's homeland of Kenya, before traveling to Ethiopia. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta, left, talks with President Barack Obama as he signs a guest book after arriving at Kenyatta International Airport, on Friday, July 24, 2015, in Nairobi. Obama is traveling on a two-nation African tour where he will become the the first sitting U.S. president to visit Kenya and Ethiopia. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)
People watch from inside a terminal as US President Barack Obama arrives on Air Force One at Kenyatta International Airport in Nairobi, Kenya, July 24, 2015. Obama arrived in Africa on a five-day tour with stops in his father's homeland of Kenya, before traveling to Ethiopia. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama sits alongside his step-grandmother, Mama Sarah (L) and half-sister Auma Obama (R), during a gathering of family at his hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, July 24, 2015. US President Barack Obama arrived in the Kenyan capital Nairobi late Friday, making his first visit to the country of his father's birth since his election as president. Obama was greeted by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta with a handshake and embrace as he stepped off Air Force One, at the start of a weekend visit during which he will address an entrepreneurship summit and hold talks on trade and investment, counter-terrorism, democracy and human rights. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Barack Obama attends a gathering of family at his hotel in Nairobi at his hotel in Nairobi, Kenya, July 24, 2015. US President Barack Obama arrived in the Kenyan capital Nairobi late Friday, making his first visit to the country of his father's birth since his election as president. Obama was greeted by Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta with a handshake and embrace as he stepped off Air Force One, at the start of a weekend visit during which he will address an entrepreneurship summit and hold talks on trade and investment, counter-terrorism, democracy and human rights. AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE
SHOW CAPTION +
HIDE CAPTION


Hours before Obama's arrival, police blocked major roads and emptied streets of traffic in the usually congested capital as part of a huge security operation.

In the darkness, excited Kenyans lined parts of the route to his hotel, cheering as Obama's motorcade passed by.

Once at his hotel, the president sat down with the woman he calls "Granny," also called "Mama Sarah," who helped raise his now deceased father as a child.

Obama's half-sister Auma Obama and a few dozen other extended family members related were also present.

Wearing a suit and tie, he chatted amiably with the large family seated at long tables at a restaurant inside the hotel where he is staying.

Obama's family connection to Kenya has cast a trip that is otherwise likely to focus on trade and counterterrorism issues in a personal light.

He is not expected to travel to the village where his father is buried.

Kenya is a vital ally of the West in the battle against the Somali Islamist group al Shabaab, and Obama is likely to focus talks in Nairobi on security cooperation.

The al Qaeda-linked group was behind an attack on Nairobi's upscale Westgate shopping center in 2013, killing at least 67 people, as well as an attack in April at a Kenyan university near the Somali border that left 148 people dead.

In Nairobi, Obama will preside at a Global Entrepreneurship Summit, pay tribute to victims and survivors of the 1998 U.S. embassy bombing and dine with Kenyatta, whose indictment by the International Criminal Court for crimes against humanity largely barred Obama from visiting sooner. Charges have been dropped.

Deputy President William Ruto, still facing similar charges in The Hague-based court, was not at the airport reception ceremony. He denies having had a role in fomenting violence after the disputed 2007 election.

In the year before that vote, Obama visited Kenya when he was still a senator.

(Writing by Edmund Blair and Edith Honan; Editing by Catherine Evans)
Read Full Story

People are Reading