Birther Claims Debunked: Born in Kenya

Countries "claim" famous people who have a connection to them, no matter how tenuous. Obama is a "child of" Indonesia, Kenya, Hawaii. That doesn't mean he was born in three places, but that he has ties to them.

Evidence for birth in outside Hawaii? Overwhelmingly... absent. Plus completely lacking in logic. A couple of poor students (one being heavily pregnant teenager) taking a complicated week-long journey to a primitive village in a third-world country halfway around the world to meet a hostile parent and an existing wife? Then go to a hospital hundreds of miles in the opposite direction of the tiny village, over questionable roads and no conveniences? When they could have stayed in Hawaii with modern medical facilities with the young mother's parents and grandparents nearby? 


Claim: His Grandmother says she was born in Kenya, that she held him, that she helped with the birth. I saw the video.

The infamous "Grandmother Tape" has long been debunked, but it won't go away. Sarah Obama (step-grandmother, not aunt) never said Obama was born in Kenya, that she held him, or that he was born in Mombasa, and she never signed any affidavits sworn or otherwise. She said repeatedly that he was born in Hawaii, in the United States. You can listen for yourself. (Audio opens in new window.)

The tape was made under false pretenses, by people who believed that Obama was born in Kenya and tried to trap Sarah Obama. Sarah Obama was asked (via translator as she doesn't speak English) if she was present in Kenya when Obama was born. That was translated as "where you here in Kenya when Obama was born?", not were you in the same place as Obama when he was born. The next question made clear the error -- Was he born in Mombasa? Answer -- “No! Obama was not born in Mombasa!” She insisted that Obama was born in Hawaii. Repeatedly. The full tape makes that clear, the tape that was posted on youtube ended abruptly after the original question. She never said she was proud to be at his birth, she never said she held him, she never says she was in the same place. 

Sarah Obama has always said that she met Obama as an adult. She has related first hearing about the birth months later in a letter, and meeting Obama for the first time when he visited his father's grave in 1988.

Listen to the whole tape yourself. Read the transcript. Compare the "affidavits" from the people who set the interview up. Discover the truth for yourself. 


Claim: President Obama's mother went to Kenya to visit her in-laws, but was too pregnant to get on the plane to fly back before the baby was born.

There are many problems with this claim. First of all, travelling halfway around the world in 1961 was not an easy trip. One detailed analysis shows that it would have taken at least 5 days, much of that on prop planes. Each round trip ticket to Nairobi would have cost a year's salary. Once in Nairobi, there would have been a 402km away journey by train, car, and/or animal power to get to the village of Nyang'oma Kogelo, where Obama Sr's family lived. His first wife and child also lived there, as well as his extremely angry father. Then for some reason, the couple felt a need to go to Mombassa, another 1,169km trip in the opposite direction. Then back to Nairobi, for another week-long trip with a newborn baby. 

How did the baby make it through all the flights and checkpoints with absolutely no passport? And how would Ann Obama be able to get the immunizations that weren't available to pregnant women?


Claim: Obama lived with his grandmother in Africa.

Most people have at least two grandmothers. Obama lived with the mother of his mother, in Hawaii, while his mother was working and living in Indonesia. He never lived with the mother of his father, in Kenya. He did live in Indonesia (not part of Africa) for 4 years, from ages 6-10.


Claim: I’ve seen the Kenyan Birth Certificates.

The Kenyan documents aren't actual documents -- one is a photograph only, the other is a xerox stamped and signed with a misspelled name of an administrator. Neither is admissible in court, unlike the original document that Factcheck.org photographed. 

One spoof Kenyan Birth Certificate was debunked within days of hitting the web in August. The big giveaway is that it is really an Australian birth certificate taken from a genealogy site, and made as a hoax to fool the birthers. The other was "found" by a convicted forger who refuses to show evidence he was ever actually in Kenya. So neither "document" is shocking or new, but it is proof of your gullibility.  

We have a complete in-depth debunking of both Fake Kenyan Birth Certificates on our FKBC page, here. 

You can even make your own with the Kenyan Birth Certificate Generator.


Claim: Obama didn’t start saying he was born in Hawaii until he decided to run for president. I saw an article from a Kenyan paper from 2004 saying he was Kenyan-born.

Obama never claimed to have been born in Kenya. The article that the AP issued said nothing about Kenyan-born, that was added by an over-zealous local editor (who also mispelled Obama's name). The next week, a correction was issued by the same paper

"Simultaneous with Obama’s rising stature is the increasing desire by Kenyans to identify with him. Typical newspaper headlines and messages flying around the Internet tend to lead with the theme "Kenyan-linked", or "Kenyan-American", or even, erroneously, "Kenyan-born". People like identifying with winners, especially when they can be linked to them in a direct way. However, Kenyans are mistaken in attempting to claim Mr Barrack Obama as one of their own..."

Here's the original AP article (note no "Kenyan-born" language), and a debunking from Snopes.com

Lastly, the AP itself says:

“The AP has never reported that President Obama was born in Kenya. In fact, AP news stories about the state of Hawaii have confirmed that he was born there. The Kenyan paper that you cite rewrote a 2004 AP story, adding the phrase ‘Kenyan-born.’ That wording was not in the AP version of the story.” -- Paul Colford, director of media relations for the Associated Press


Claim: A black Kenyan Historian say Obama was born in Kenya.

Professor Ali Mazrui has written that America has a Luo president. 

This American precedent may lead on to the election of a Black Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, a
Black President of France, and even a Black Chancellor of Germany before the end of this twenty-first century.
A Somali Prime Minister of Italy in another 50 years is no longer inconceivable. After all, the United States has
had a Luo President sooner than has Kenya, which has a population of several million Luo.

Professor Mazrui was correctly pointing out that President Obama was a member of the Luo tribe due to his father's ancestry. The entire article talks about Obama's three-part ancestral heritage: African, Muslim, and American.  A prominant African, Olara Otunnu gave the following lecture at Harvard and discussed Mazrui's point.  

Olara Otunnu (Harvard Law, 1978) relating the remark of Kenyan historian Ali Mazrui on the oddity that a member of Kenya's Luo tribe (Barack Obama, a Kenyan citizen and Luo tribe member from birth) may become president of the United States before a Luo tribe member becomes president of Kenya. "Town Hall Forum: An Examination of Race, Age, Gender & Religion in the 2008 Election," Harvard Law School Reunions, Oct. 25, 2008, 9:15 a.m, (Austin Hall, 1st Floor, West), at 60:17 mark.

In this lecture, Otunnu also never said Obama was born in Kenya. The listing says that Obama was a Kenyan Citizen because his father was a Kenyan Citizen. Obama was born in the US with dual citizenship.  (See our page on Dual Citizenship.) In the actual lecture, Otunnu says:

"There is a prospect that the US would elect a president, a Luo president, before Kenya does... if Americans, White Americans, are prepared to elect a person of African heritage and not hold his race and ethnicity against him, what are Africans doing holding ethnicity against each other?... If Obama had grown up in Kenya on the father's side instead of the mothers, he may have had less of a chance of becoming president of the US."


Claim: Obama was born on Vulcan.

Oh my god! You are RIGHT! When Obama said he grew up on Star Trek, I didn't realize he was saying he grew up ON Star Trek! Pictures don't lie! The conspiracy goes even further... 

Plus: Seven of Nine was once married to Obama's Republican Senate opponent. The details in the "sealed" divorce papers torpedoed the ex-husband's campaign, leaving it wide open for Obama.  


Claim: Obama has no citizenship to any country and traveled the world attending colleges

He has proper documentation, as evidenced by the fact that he HAS traveled to other parts of the world and was permitted to reenter the USA. Just because YOU haven't seen his passport, birth certificate, social security card, etc. doesn't mean that other people, the people allowed/required to haven't either.  

He attended 3 colleges: Occidental College (CA), Columbia (NY), and Harvard (MA). All US states.


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