NAIROBI, Kenya, (UPI) — Kenyan officials said Friday they were inviting U.S. President Barack Obama, whose father was Kenyan, to a swearing-in ceremony for its next president.
Kenyans head to the polls Monday for national elections. Kenya’s Head of Civil Service Francis Kimenia said the government was extending an invitation to Obama and other heads of state to attend an eventual swearing-in ceremony for who would be Kenya’s fourth president since independence.
“You can be sure that we will invite the American president,” he was quoted by Kenyan newspaper The Daily Nation as saying. “If he cannot come then he can delegate.”
Obama’s father was a Kenyan economist. The U.S. president was last in the country in 2006.
An informal survey from The Daily Nation of public sentiment measured by social media traffic indicates Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga in a slight lead over challenger Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta.
Kenyatta and running mate William Ruto were cleared by a Kenyan court to run in the elections. Both men could face charges at the International Criminal Court for crimes related to deadly violence that erupted following 2007 elections.
The U.S. State Department issued a travel advisory for Kenya ahead of the vote. While Westerners are an unlikely target of violence, the warning said civil unrest may coincide with the voting.