Election 2008

Obama Tries Personal Diplomacy in Kenya

  • Playlist
  • Download
  • Embed
    <iframe src="http://www.npr.org/player/embed/18045596/18045548" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript

U.S. presidential contender Barack Obama made time this week to call the leaders of warring factions in Kenya. Obama's father is Kenyan and a member Kenyan opposition leader Raila Odinga's tribe. Odinga is disputing the results of the recent Kenyan presidential election.


Senator Barack Obama is running hard for president of the United States, but this week he made time to lend his voice to try to stop the violence in Kenya, the home of his late father. Senator Obama recorded an appeal for the Voice of America, saying, now is not the time to throw a strong democracy away. Now is the time for this terrible violence to end. He has phoned opposition leader Raila Odinga and is reportedly still trying to get a call through to President Mwai Kibaki.

There's a special poignance to Mr. Obama's interest - he has family in western Kenya, an area that so far has not been touched by the violence. His grandmother, Sarah Hussein, told a Reuters reporter this week, I know my grandson will be number one because he is very bright.

Senator Obama's father was a member of the Luo tribe, like Raila Odinga. President Kibaki is Kikuyu, the tribe that has dominated Kenyan politics and independence. There is a joke among Kenyans that America will have a Luo president before Kenya does.

Copyright © 2008 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by a contractor for NPR, and accuracy and availability may vary. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Please be aware that the authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio.



Please keep your community civil. All comments must follow the NPR.org Community rules and terms of use, and will be moderated prior to posting. NPR reserves the right to use the comments we receive, in whole or in part, and to use the commenter's name and location, in any medium. See also the Terms of Use, Privacy Policy and Community FAQ.

NPR thanks our sponsors

Become an NPR sponsor

Support comes from