African Press International (API)

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Figthing to ge a share of the Obamas: The proposed Obama Snr museum has caused a big split in the family of the US President-elect right in the miiddle.

Posted by African Press International on December 23, 2008

Reports Leo Odera Omolo

The much touted proposal made recently by the Kenya government to construct a Kshs 5 million museum at the Alego-Kogelo hom of the late Barrack Obama Snr has degenerated a lot of controversy and appeared to have caused a big split in the family of the US President elect.

The spirited argument has been put up by a group claiming to be relatives of the late Barrack Obama Snr who lives in Kanyadhiang village, Central Karachunyo location, Rachuonyo district, the undisputed birth place of the late top economist Mr. Barrack Obama Snr, the father of the US president-elect have come out fire-spitting saying they are vehemently opposed to the idea of such project being undertaken in Kogelo.

In what looks like a major struggle for identification of the Obama,s ancestral roots in Kenya ever since the president-elect Barrack Obama jnr comfortably won the US presidential elections on November 4th, 2008, people claiming to be genuine relatives of the Obamas from Karachonyo have said there was more of Obama family history in Kanyadhiang village than in Nyangoma, Alego Kogelo in Siaya district.

Kanyadhiang village, is located about eight miles south of Kendu-Bay town.This is the undisputed brith place of the late Barrack Obama Snr, who is the father of the US president elect. Some elderly relatives, who witnessed the late Obamas birth in 1936 are still alive and healthy, and willing to testify against any attempt to built a \museum in his owner in Kogelo about 100km away.

Information which was availed to this writer revealed that the Obamas ancestors had settled in Kanyadhiang in the 19th Century. Nobody is in the know-how as to where they had migrated from before settling at Kanyadhiang. And the late Obama Snr, is the fourth generation within the Obamas family tree line said to have lived at Kanyadhiang

The first elders to settle at Kanyadhiang were two brothers Opiyo and Nyagwala. The time of their arrival in the village is considered to be around 1886. Opiyo is said tobe the father of Obama {1} who became the father of Husseing Onyango Obama, and it was Hussein Onyango a former British Colonial cooke who father the late Barrack Obama Snr in 1936.

The first descendant of the Obama who is believed to have moved out of Kanyadhiang and traveled back to Alego Kogelo in the late 1930s was one called Ndalo. Hussein Onyango Obama remained in Kanyadhiang with his family until the lady luck struck the family.

Two incidences is believed to have occurred. The first one, Hussein Onyango Obama was divorced by his first wife Akumu doughter of Njoga from the neighbouring Karabondi village within the same locality. Akumu left his with three children Barrack Obama Snr, and two daughters and got married to another Luo sub-clan on the ground of excessive cruelty on the part of Hussein, who had just returned after serving the British colonial masters as a cooke in the coastal tport town of Mombasa and the neighbiouruing Zanzibar Island where he had converted himself to Islam As the two (Hussein and Akumu) parted the company, Hussein got married to the 87 year old Sarah, who is the step grand mother of the US president elect and in whose homestead, the late Barrack Obama Snr remains is buried.

Between 1936 and 1940 Hussein Obama was the captain or manager of kanyadhiang Football Team, which was too good in local football derby.. It happened when the late Mzee Paul Mboya was then the colonial chief of the entire Karachuonyo Location. The Kanyadhiang team was involved in a local football tournament. The team headed by Hussein Obama beat another team from neighbouring, but dominant Kogweno sub-clan in the final match, Kogweno was the sub-clan of the colonial chief Mboya, who ruled the area with an iron fist, and was the darling of the British colonialists.

The chief defiantly refused to hand over the trophy after his clans team had been beaten by a margin of 4-1 by the Kanyadhiang team which was captained by the late Hussein Onyango Obama. The chief was known to be so authoritative and a dictator . Nobody questioned his rulings. But the late Hussein Onyango Obama, the father of Barack Obama Snr, forced his way to the chiefs house and forcefully seized the trophy, which he handed to house victorious team, to the chagrin of the Chief.

In retaliation, the Chief ordered some youths to invade the late Hussein Onyango Obama ultra modern house, which was built of Makuti roof, the only one of its kind in the are at the time.. The Chiefs reasoning was that Obama was an immigrant and not the indigenous man of the locality, but an immigrant settler in the area common called in Dho-Luo language {Jodak}.or sojourners.

The invasion of his beautiful house angered the late Hussein Onyango Obama who decided to move out of Kanyadhiang with his entire family and followed his cousin Ndolo to Alego Kogelo, where he settled and where his son the late Barrack Obama Snr and his other siblings grew up.

The late Chief Paul Mboya later served as the first African Secretary of the African Local Native Council{ALNC} and later African District Council of South Nyanza{ADC} for many years before it was transformed into the County Council of South Nyanza in 1961 and have its areas of jurisdiction split into with one part remaining in Kisii region and the other moving to the newly crated South Nyanza district, which was mainly serving the Luoland. He retired in 1962 of old age, but after clinching several coveted awards by the British Colonial Office in London, which included MBE and OBE medals.

And in surprise support of those who are pressing hard the demand that Barack Obama Snrs Museum should be built at Kanyadhiang, the local member of Parlisment for the area Eng. James Rege has added his weight to the issue. He recently invited the Gender and Children,s Minister Eesther Murugi and the Ministrys Permanent Secretary Dr. Nyikal to Kanyadhiang where they defiantly unveiled the signpost erected in an area which was identified as the site for the proposed new Museum. The signpost was unveiled by the Minister Murugi who was the guest of honour at the venue.

.The Karachuonyo people have disagreed with the long held beliefs that Barrack Obama Snr was born in Kogelo village in Siaya district and buried there when he died in 1982.They have lodge their complaints claiming that the late Obama Snr was born at Kanyadhiang and whatever the memorial monument planned in his honour by the government of Kenya should be built at his birth place, and not his burial site..

Last month Kenyas Minister for Tourism Najib Balala while visiting the Obamas family home at Kagelo, Siaya in the company of his entire Ministrys top officials had announced that the government would built a multi-million shillings Museum in honour of Barrack Obama Snr in Mama Sarah Obamas homestead, and also promised that the government would undertake to renovate all the access roads to the area for the purpose of attracting tourists and visitors from US and other destinations abroad..

Ends

leooderaomolo@yahoo.com

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