Wednesday, October 8, 2008



The Standard
October 8, 2008
Nairobi, Kenya

By David Ohito

The high drama smear campaign characterising the American elections played out in Kenya, thousands of miles away in the land of Illinois Senator Barack Obama’s father.

An attempt by anti-Obama crusaders to launch a smear campaign ended in a dramatic anti-climax when an American author was bundled out of Nairobi, moments before he could launch his book, The Obama Nation: Leftist Politics and The Cult of Personality.

Dr Jerome Corsi, a Republican, was declared persona non grata and deported last night after earlier being detained by Immigration officials.

The charge... engaging in illegal activities in Kenya.

The move came hours before Obama and John McCain took to the stage for the second live TV presidential campaign debate.

On Tuesday, the presidential contest was turning increasingly nasty, as the presidential rivals launched personal attacks against each other. McCain is trailing the Illinois Senator in opinion polls by up to eight points, amid an economic meltdown.

Obama tried to reassure supporters, who are worried that the Republican tactics might work, saying: "One of the things we’ve done during this campaign, we don’t throw the first punch but we’ll throw the last".

McCain is attempting to tie Obama to controversial Chicago figures and accusing him of not being open with voters about his past, according to Baltimore Sun.

Said Obama: "If John McCain wants to have a character debate, then I’m happy to have that debate, because Mr McCain’s record, despite him calling himself a maverick, actually shows that he is continually somebody who relies on lobbyists for big oil and big corporations, and that he makes decisions oftentimes on what these lobbyists tell him to do". Arrested and detained alongside Corsi at the Libya owned Laico Regency Hotel in Nairobi was a US freelance journalist Thomas Buella. By the time of going to press, the duo was booked on a British Airways flight that was scheduled to depart from the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport at 11pm.

The Immigration officers, however, said Corsi was "free to apply for a valid work permit to come back and launch his book".

Sources at Immigration headquarters told The Standard that Corsi and Buella had their visitors’ passes annulled for violating rules.

Violated Terms

"They violated terms of the visitor’s pass by engaging in a business and marketing of his book. They required a special permit to do business," a top Immigration source said.

Corsi claimed he had earlier met with a top Government official, who "gave me a nod to go ahead".

Trouble started shortly after 9am for the controversial author when a team of Immigration investigators and Administration Police officers arrived at the venue of the launch.

He was questioned before being bundled into a waiting white Land Rover and driven to Nyayo House, the Immigration headquarters.

Pro-Obama youths led by Mr Dennis ‘Thande’ Hamisi protested outside the hotel, claiming the launch was a smear campaign against the US Democratic presidential candidate.

"We are here to register our displeasure and to oppose the sentiments of the Republican sympathiser and author," said Thande.

"It is bad propaganda and an affront to the people of Obama’s father and grandfather," Thande said.

Corsi claims the Illinois Senator is a dangerous, radical candidate for the presidency. The book has been described as laden with innuendo and false rumours — that Obama was raised a Muslim, attended a radical, black church and is secretly seething with "black rage".

Yet Obama was raised as a Christian and attended the United Trinity Church. Immigration sources said Corsi arrived in the country on September 30, aboard a British Airways Flight and has been allegedly in hiding. "He declared that he would be staying at Laico Regency Hotel on arrival, but the hotel has since distanced itself from the visitor," a senior police officer said.

Mr Joseph Mumira, a CID officer at the JKIA, confirmed that Corsi was at the airport for deportation.

As drama unfolded, the Laico Regency Hotel General Manager Solomon Adede issued a press statement disowning the author and the book launch.

Adede said a Mr Peter Mbae, the Editor-in-Chief of Eagle Christian Magazine, booked the ‘book launch’.

Considered Embarrassment

Said Adede: "We would like to assure our business partners and the public at large that Laico Regency Hotel is a law abiding institution and does not condone any smear campaigns.Mbae, Corsi’s publicist, later told Reuters that the author had broken no Immigration rules, but was considered an embarrassment.

"His papers were found to be in order. The passport was fine, his visa was fine," Mbae said, adding the Government did not want Corsi to launch the book on Kenyan soil hence the hasty deportation. Foreign journalists yesterday camped at Nyayo House, hunting for Corsi after news spread that he had been detained.

A statement announcing Corsi’s visit said he arrived last week at the invitation of Christian missionaries concerned about the rise of Islam.

Corsi was scheduled to meet Obama’s half-brother George Onyango Obama, who Western Press claim is living in abject poverty in Huruma Estate, Nairobi. The claim is part of a campaign to portray Obama as an irresponsible person incapable of leading a country, if he cannot help his brother.

Onyango has come out fighting in support of the US Senator, saying he was not living in squalor and admonished foreign media to stop using him to undermine the Democrat.