Obama urges Kenyan leaders to shun divisive ethnicity

Former U.S. President Barack Obama on Monday urged Kenyan leaders to turn their backs on ethnic politics that have frequently sparked violence during election campaigns.

Obama made the remarks during a visit to western Kenya, where he attended the opening ceremony of a school in his father’s home village of Kogelo.

“It means no longer seeing different ethnicities as enemies or rivals but rather as allies; in seeing the diversity of tribes not as a weakness but as a strength,” Obama, whose father was Kenyan, said.

The former American president leader’s visit to Kenya was basically aimed at opening the centre, which is run by his half-sister Auma Obama through her charity, the Sauti Kuu Foundation.

This was Obama’s fourth trip to Kenya, the third coming in 2015 while serving as President of the U.S.

Obama also urged Kenyan leaders to tackle corruption, saying graft held back economic development and undermined public faith in the government.

Kenyan media have reported dozens of graft scandals since Kenyatta was re-elected last year. In May, 54 people, mostly civil servants, were charged in an investigation into the theft of nearly $100 million of public funds from the state-run National Youth Service.