White House Notebook: Obama faces 'family politics' in Kenya
What happens when an American president invites his African relatives to dinner at a Nairobi hotel? A lot of family members show up — more, perhaps, than he even knew he had.
Nairobi: What happens when an American president invites his African relatives to dinner at a Nairobi hotel? A lot of family members show up — more, perhaps, than he even knew he had.
The day after dining with about three dozen relatives here, Obama reflected on the time they spent together "just catching up." He said some were distant relatives he'd never met before, despite visiting Kenya twice in the past. Chuckling, he recalled the "lengthy explanations" about how one relative or another was connected to the Obama clan.
"I think the people of Kenya will be familiar with the need to manage family politics sometimes in these extended families," Obama said with a knowing grin.
With a hint of frustration, Obama said he had told his family how sorry he was he couldn't spend more quality time with them on this visit. Logistical and security considerations prevented Obama from visiting Kogelo, where his father lived and is buried.
But Obama said once he leaves office, he'll have a better opportunity to reconnect.
"The next time I'm back, I may not be wearing a suit. The first time I came here, I was in jeans and a backpack," Obama said, recalling his first trip nearly 30 years ago. He may also bring back with him a few relatives of his own.
Obama said after leaving the White House, he plans to return with first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Sasha and Malia.
"They have great love for this country and its people," he said.