benRepublican presidential hopeful Ben Carson said on Monday he plans to visit Kenya later this month.

The 63 year old retired neurosurgeon cited his East African ancestry as a key reason for the trip. Earlier in the year, the author of bestsellers-Gifted Hands and Think Big made a startling revelation that he had traced his roots back to Kenya and in particular Turkana.

During a radio interview on Monday, Ben Carson said, “My ancestors are from the Kenya-Tanzania region, the Turkana tribe. I’ve had all of that traced back.”

His claim that the Turkana people occupy “the Kenya-Tanzania region” is however erroneous, as the Turkana live in northwest Kenya near the borders with South Sudan, Ethiopia and Uganda –an area far from Tanzania. This is one of several erroneous comments he has made since he announced his bid for the U.S presidency. In a speech to a US Jewish group last week, he mispronounced the name of the Palestinian militant group Hamas, calling it “hummus”.

Ben Carson will tour Kenya, Nigeria and Zambia in a week-long tour from December 27. The trip is seen as part of an effort to allay doubts about his ability to lead the US on the world stage.

In Nigeria, he intends to assess the nation’s economy and the threat it faces from Boko Haram. He will also visit a medical school named after him.

“I want to get an idea from the people what the effects of the Boko Haram are, what people are thinking, to see what the economic situation is there.” 

He said he will visit Zambia which is the homeland of conjoined twins, Joseph and Luka Banda, whom he and his team of surgeons successfully separated in 1997.

“We separated them. They were joined at the top of the head facing in opposite directions almost 18 years ago and this is the year they graduate from high school,’ he said.

Here’s the audio of the interview with US radio talk-show host Hugh Hewitt.

Audio courtesy of The Star