Did Obama’s grandmother admit he was born in Kenya?
Although no other evidence has surfaced placing Barack Obama’s mother in Kenya at the time of the president’s birth, a taped telephone conversation in which his Kenyan step-grandmother purportedly claims he was born in the coastal city of Mombasa has become an Internet hit since its submission as evidence in a lawsuit challenging the president’s eligibility.
Philip J. Berg, a former Pennsylvania deputy attorney general, included a transcript of the tape and sworn affidavits in a filing with the U.S. Supreme Court after lower courts dismissed as frivolous his Aug. 21, 2008, complaint alleging Obama was born in Mombasa.
The Oct. 16, 2008, telephone interview was conducted by American Christian minister Ron McRae, who describes himself in his affidavit as an overseer of the Anabaptist Churches in North America and a “Presiding Elder on the African Presbytery.”
McRae, who called from Detroit, says Sarah Obama was in a public setting with several hundred people listening to the telephone call on a speakerphone. The interpreter was Vitalis Akech Ogombe, the community chairman of Sarah Obama’s village of Nyang’oma Kogelo in Western Kenya, 30 miles west of the Lake Victoria-city of Kisumu.
“In the ensuing public conversation, I asked Ms. Obama specifically, ‘Were you present when your grandson was born in Kenya?’” McRae testified in his sworn statement. “This was asked to her in translation twice, and both times she replied, “Yes! Yes she was! She was present when Obama was born.”
Critics point out many reasons to be skeptical of the claim, including the possibility something was lost in the translation between an American minister who presupposed Obama was born in Kenya and an elderly African woman who reportedly knows no English. Amid cross-talk in a combination of English, Swahili and the local Luo tribal dialect, could she have understood McRae simply to be asking where she was when Barack Obama Jr. was born?
Moreover, the critics argue, her interpreter immediately clarified that her famous grandson was born in Hawaii, not Kenya.
Many versions of the tape posted by bloggers who contend it is evidence Obama was born in Kenya are cut off immediately after the point where the grandmother apparently affirms her presence at the birth. The truncated versions leave out the section in which the interpreter insists she actually meant the birth took place in the U.S.
In addition, a March 27, 2007, story by Tim Jones of the Tribune News Service recounts how Sarah Obama received a letter from Barack Obama Sr. telling of his plan to marry Stanley Ann Dunham. Sarah Hussein’s husband, Hussein Onyango Obama, was said to be angered by the news. Six months later, Jones reported, the Kenyan family received a letter announcing the Aug. 4, 1961, birth. The Tribune reporter noted an interview with Sarah Obama in which she said she was “so happy to have a grandchild in the U.S.”
Aside from the inference that the grandmother first learned of the birth through a letter, the Kenyan patriarch’s anger over the marriage makes it even more unlikely Ann Dunham would have traveled to Kenya during her pregnancy.
Nevertheless, two members of Sarah Hussein Obama’s Luo tribe who are fluent in the local Luo dialect, Swahlili and English told WND
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