Why Obama Was Not Born in Kenya

With Donald Trump's headline-grabbing call for our President to release his birth certificate, more and more people are discussing the circumstances of Obama's birth.  Although it seems likely that Obama is hiding something -- the date of birth, the place, the father -- it is highly unlikely that he is concealing a Kenyan nativity.

The President's mother, Ann Dunham and father, Barack Obama, Sr., supposedly met in a Russian language class at the University of Hawaii.  The time was late September, 1960.  For the official birth date of August 4, 1961 to work, and assuming that Ann carried her baby for a full term, she would have to have been impregnated sometime in mid November, 1960.

Continuing with the official story, Obama's parents were supposedly married February 2, 1961, on the island of Maui when Ann was approximately 2 ½ months pregnant.  It is at this point that we lose track of the President's mother.  She is not enrolled at the University of Hawaii.  No one sees her (with the possible exception of self appointed best friend Neil Abercrombie, current Governor of Hawaii), and no one can vouch for her whereabouts.  That is not the case, however, with Obama's father, Barack Obama, Sr.

Gregg Takiyama, Director of Community and Government Affairs at the University of Hawaii, Manoa campus, has supplied the following information on Obama Sr.'s school attendance:  Dates of attendance:  Fall 1959 - Spring 1962; Degree awarded:  BA - Economics, Spring 1962.  Classes were held throughout the year:  Fall = August-Dec.; Spring = Jan.-May; Summer = May-Aug.

Apparently, Obama Sr., once he began his Hawaiian education in 1959, never took a break in his studies until he graduated in May of 1962.  This is further corroborated in a letter he wrote after graduation on May 29 to his sponsor in Kenya, Tom Mboya.  In it, he brags about how fast he finished his studies:

"As you know I have been able to finish my B.A. (hon.) degree and done my M.A. within three years only as contrasted to the normal four years for a B.A. and one to two years for M.A.  I have therefore been able to cut on at least two years for my B.A. and Masters."  Obviously, Obama Sr. was a serious student.

In the same letter, Obama Sr. says to Mboya: "...this is the time when I feel I should thank you for the help which you gave me when I was coming here."  Had Obama Sr. returned to Kenya for the birth of his baby he undoubtedly would have contacted his sponsor.  Yet the letter seems to indicate that this is the first time he has thanked or been in touch with Mboya since his arrival in Hawaii in 1959.

Then there are the difficulties of a trip to Kenya in 1961: the costs and the logistics.  In an article in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin, September 19, 1959, Shurei Hirozawa wrote of Barack Obama Sr.'s arrival in Hawaii: "The money he saved will only stretch out for two semesters or less because of the high cost of living in Hawaii, he found out.  He'll work, he says, and probably apply for a scholarship." Obama Sr. had no money.  He certainly wouldn't have had the money for two airplane tickets to Kenya.  If that trip took place, Ann's parents would have to have paid the fare.

Since we know Obama Sr. was continually enrolled year round at the University of Hawaii, and he finished in three years' time what would normally take 5 years, any break in his studies would have necessarily been short.  Any trip to Kenya would have to have been by air, as going by sea would have taken weeks, if not months.

For the birth to have taken place in Kenya, Ann would have been very pregnant and very near her delivery date when the trip was made.  The distance between Honolulu and Nairobi, Kenya is approximately 10,700 miles.  In 1961 there would not have been any direct flights, necessitating several stops and perhaps several overnight layovers.  

We would then have the spectacle of an 18 year-old first time mother, days away from delivery, leaving the comfort and surroundings of her parents' home (with the blessing of her parents), to embark on a several day exhausting journey, only to arrive in a very third world country to deliver her baby in the primitive medical facilities common in the Africa of 1961.  None of this makes sense.

When Obama Sr. was preparing to leave Hawaii for Harvard in June of 1962, he was interviewed by John Griffin of the Honolulu Advertiser.  Griffin wrote: "Obama who has been away from Kenya for seven years, said he plans to go home after finishing at Harvard."  There is no indication that while he was in Hawaii, Obama Sr. ever returned to his native Kenya, let alone with a pregnant wife in tow.

Finally, in the same letter of May 29, 1962 to sponsor Mboya, it is interesting to note what Obama Sr. had to say about his wife, no, not Ann, but rather his wife in Kenya: "I have enjoyed my stay here, but I will be accelerating my coming home as much as I can.  You know my wife is in Nairobi there and I would really appreciate any help you may give her.  She is staying with her brother Mr. Wilson Odiawo."

Even though the marriage practices of Kenya were somewhat more relaxed than those of the United States, one has to wonder if Obama Sr. would take his pregnant American wife back to Nairobi where his African wife was waiting for him and if under those circumstances, Ann would consent to go.

The facts we know about Obama Sr. from his school records, newspaper articles, and his own letter to Mboya strongly argue that once he arrived in Hawaii, he never left.  If Obama Sr., the father, never traveled to Kenya it would follow that Ann, the mother, never did either. 

Of all the uncertainties of our President's first year, whether or not he was born in Kenya should not be one of them.