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2009-12-18

Kenyan Voices Share Their Climate Message to President Obama, Son of Kenyan Father

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With President Obama’s arrival in Copenhagen, we hear from two Kenyans at the UN climate summit about what message they would like to send to Obama, the son of a Kenyan father. [includes rush transcript]

Transcript

This is a rush transcript. Copy may not be in its final form.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Climate Countdown. I’m Amy Goodman. We’re broadcasting live from Copenhagen on this last day of the two weeks of this exclusive broadcast, the only daily radio, television, internet news hour that is broadcasting from right here at the Bella Center.

Well, over the past two weeks, Democracy Now! caught up with several Kenyans here at the summit to ask them what their message would be to US President, the son of a Kenyan father, Barack Obama.

    SAMWEL NAIKADA: My name is Samwel Naikada, and I am from Kenya. Being one of our own — I mean, from the roots — I really, actually, also urge Obama that he make considerations to actually support the local communities of Kenya and actually channel, because I know that there are a lot of funds which are being allocated for, you know, the whole issue of REDD and the whole issue of, you know, forestation, and supporting local communities down there to also realize the benefit, and also capacity building, or build their capacity as a people, teach them, being — training. That’s a message I can tell President Obama.

    ISABELLA MASINDE: My name is Isabella Masinde. I come from Kenya. We understand President Obama is coming here. We hear a lot of stories that the US is trying to push for a legally binding agreement to be moved from this meeting to the meeting in Mexico next year, and I think this is very wrong, because that will only delay the issue of this commitment that the countries already made. They have not met them already. USA itself has not made any commitments towards reducing its own emissions, and yet they’re the biggest emitters. So we think that Obama should come here and tell us that the US is now ready to cut down by 60 percent, not even the 40 percent that we are requesting.

AMY GOODMAN: Isabella Masinde from the African Wildlife Foundation in Kenya. Democracy Now! also spoke to a young climate activist from Kenya.

    KEVIN ODHIAMBO OCHIENG: My name is Kevin Odhiambo. I’m from Kenya. I’m coming from Kenya. I study in Kenya at university. I’m a final-year student. I do environmental planning and management.

    AMY GOODMAN: So you visited President Obama’s grandmother before you came here?

    KEVIN ODHIAMBO OCHIENG: Yeah. Before we came here, we decided to visit President Obama’s grandmother’s home, and we got some — several interviews at that place. And generally, we were trying to drive a message to the President of the United States that the world is crying for his leadership, because you realize that the US holds a very important key to the deadlock we have here in the negotiations. So, he is the leader of the superpower in the world that is able — he has the power within his hands to change the direction the world goes.

    AMY GOODMAN: What did President Obama’s grandmother say to you?

    KEVIN ODHIAMBO OCHIENG: Generally, she said that she has hope that her grandson is able to make a difference in the whole of this process. That was the only thing that she said to us.

    AMY GOODMAN: What message do have for President Obama? Would you like to meet him? And what would you say?

    KEVIN ODHIAMBO OCHIENG: Very much would like to meet President Obama. But, unfortunately, we know that on Friday we are all locked out of this place.

    But if I was asked if I would like to meet him, I will say yes, a thousand times, because he holds a lot of stake of the future of my life and the future of millions, and half the population of this world is looking at him. I’m talking about the young people, who are here, who are represented here. And the rest of the world is looking at him. And I’d like to meet him and to just tell him that, that if the US takes positive action, I’m very sure countries like China, India and the other major players in this process are also going to follow suit. So I believe that I — I would ask him to do one thing for the world: to show moral leadership.

AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now! ’s Climate Countdown.

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