If US president Barack Obama fails to visit their university when he visits Kenya this month, 18 students of University of Nairobi (UON) said they will commit suicide, Uganda’s Daily Monitor reported Monday.
According to reports, the Chairman of Students Organization of Nairobi University (SONU), Mr Babu Owino, said at least 18 students have threatened to kill themselves if president Obama does not visit their university.
“Also, 31 female students have threatened to urinate on the tree president Obama planted in UON in 2006 should he not visit UON. Male students may do worse,” read part of the July 13, 2015 letter written by Mr Owino to the USA ambassador to Kenya.
Upon his 2006 visit to Kenya, president Obama then senator of Illinois, visited UON and planted a tree outside Taifa Hall.
Kenya is reportedly in the grip of 'Obama-mania', according to Daily Monior who says for weeks, newspapers in Kenya have led with numerous articles describing preparations for the trip at the end of this month and analysing its importance. Readers have been inundated with every detail about efforts to keep Obama safe, with tales about his limousine, “a tank on four wheels” (the Star), a favourite.
Daily Monitor reports that roads have been relaid, malfunctioning street lights fixed, billboards erected and the highway between the airport and the central business district boasts a new garden – although social media users have been quick to note, witheringly, that the newly planted flowers are unlikely to have blossomed before Obama arrives.
Obama’s visit to Kenya are reportedly planned to highlight the changing dynamics of the relationship between the west and a continent that has grown more assertive with improving economic fortunes at a time when new powers, especially China, are making a big play for prominence in Africa.
At the airport, Obama will be received by his Kenyan counterpart, Uhuru Kenyatta, whose presidential bid Washington semi-openly campaigned against because, at the time of the election in March 2013, he was facing indictment at the International Criminal Court for his alleged role in post-election violence that rocked the country at the end of 2007. The case has since been withdrawn.