Obama is set to visit Kenya for the first time since becoming President from July 24 to 26 for the Global Entrepreneurship Summit (GES) which he will co-host with Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta.
In preparation for Obama’s visit the Nairobi Government has started to ‘beautify’ certain areas of the city. The Star reported that over 500 youths have been hired to clear bushes, unclog the drainage systems and cut grass surrounding the major roads. They are working on Lang’ata Road, Uhuru Highway, Mombassa Road and Waiyaki Way.
The environment chief officer, Leah Oyake, told The Star that “the team cleaning the city is from the National Youth Service. The county made special arrangements with the national government, which agreed to train them for us. I can say they are volunteering.”
Even though the local government is advertising these beautification processes as part of a long-term plan to improve Nairobi many have taken to Twitter to express their disapproval over these measures.
The BBC reported that since the hashtag #KenyansMessageToObama has started trending on Twitter, many have used it to bring attention to their displeasure over the beatification, “Kindly visit every county so that there can be beautification and cleaning everywhere,” tweeted @jacksonjaxo. Martha Rose wrote, “#KenyansMessageToObama hash tag reflects a popular Africa Trend. Clean house only because visitors are coming.” Derobubucci tweeted, “#KenyasMessageToObama He should be coming to Kenya yearly so that Kidero will be maintaining our roads..”
Many of the messages on Twitter also broached the topic of gay rights due to the recent decision by the U.S. Supreme Court to legalise gay marriage in every state and what seems like the fear of many that Obama plans to address the issue during his visit. Edwin wrote, #KenyansMessageToObama we are a straight nation and that will never change!!!!” Another such tweet came from Eddie Mwangi, “we have pressing matters, things that matter to Kenyans lives. Keep your gay agenda to yourself, Kenya want business #KenyansMessageToObama.” Many of the tweets pertaining to homosexuality were negative however there were a few positives ones. Mike momentro Gitonga tweeted “#KenyansMessageToObama gays are part of my our society.. we need to give them some space”.
It has been suggested that this visit by President Obama is to show U.S. military and economic support within Africa amidst the growing influence of the Chinese in the region.