White House Notebook: Kenya Says It’s No Terror Hotbed

July 25, 2015 Updated: July 25, 2015

NAIROBI, Kenya— Kenyans eager to have their country in the spotlight during President Barack Obama’s visit have been irked by a news report describing the East African nation as a “hotbed of terror.”

Kenyans quickly mobilized a Twitter campaign using the hashtag #SomeoneTellCNN to correct what many here have called an exaggeration by the television network.

President Uhuru Kenyatta even joined in, telling attendees at the Global Entrepreneurship Summit that they will find Kenya to be “a hotbed of vibrant culture, spectacular natural beauty, and a wonderful people with infinite possibility.” The crowd laughed and applauded at his remarks.

Kenya has struggled to contain the threat from al-Shabab militants based in neighboring Somalia. Al-Shabab, a group linked to al-Qaeda, has conducted major attacks in Kenya, including the 2013 attack on Nairobi’s Westgate mall and an April attack in Garissa town that killed nearly 150 people.

CNN later added an editors’ note to its story on its website that read: “The headline and lead of this article has been recast to indicate the terror threat is a regional one.”

Kenyan troops are deployed in Somalia to counter al-Shabab, and the United States has carried out drone strikes against suspected militants there.


Obama says a major initiative he launched to help Africa double its access to electricity is empowering folks in ways not seen before.

Obama commented Saturday while touring five “Power Africa” exhibits on display at the business summit. The initiative’s progress has been slow, though, and its future is uncertain because Congress hasn’t renewed its major source of funding, the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

Some of the exhibits Obama toured used solar panels to help generate electricity.

Obama said entrepreneurship combined with the electricity initiative will help Africa “leapfrog” over dirty energy — meaning fossil fuels like coal and oil that must be burned — to cleaner sources of energy, like the sun. He said ultimately millions of people will have reliable electrical power, which can boost productivity.

“It’s promising,” Obama said.

One presenter told Obama that his invention repurposed biofuel, as he showed off a set-up included a device resembling a pot with a hose snaking out from the top.

“Either that or you’re making moonshine,” Obama told him.