8 November 2012

Kenya: Citizens Celebrate Obama Win

Photo: Katy Gabel/AlllAfrica
Obama's half-brother, Malik Abango (center right) watching his acceptance speech after the 2008 election.

Kenyans yesterday joined the rest of the world to celebrate Obama's election victory. In Mombasa, residents welcomed President Obama's win, with many saying it further positions Kenya high on the global map.

Salma Mohamed and Zainab Hassan said the win might benefit Kenya economically and politically as his policies affect many countries since the US is a superpower.

"Having roots from Kenya, he must be having our country in mind when making policies that will affect the world. He wouldn't want to harm his grandmother in K'Ogelo," said Salama, who works in an IT firm in Mombasa.

James Muniko, a 38-year-old security guard, said Kenyans stands to benefit more politically than economically. Muniko said Kenya can take positives from the electoral process of the US and implement some of them in next year's general election.

"I am happy for him. It shows that this country can also produce people who can change the world. Kenya also stands to benefit economically as US controls the world economy," said Muniko.

Mohamed Yusuf, 25, however does not see anything to smile about Obama's win. He said his win will not put food on the table for him.

"I have no job. I am looking for a job. If he comes here and gets us jobs then I would be happier. I congratulate him anyway. He has roots in Kenya," said Yusuf.

Obama's supporters in Kitengela, Isinya and Kajiado town spent Tuesday night in bars as they watched live pictures of US election results streaming in.

Not even the police or other security agents could stop or close the drinking joints that were overcrowded by Obama's fans.

By morning, yesterday, when it became evident that Obama was winning against his close opponent, Mitt Romney, supporters of Obama jammed the streets as they said his win is a sign of good things to come for Kenya.

They chanted slogans in praise of Obama and Kenya's ODM presidential flag-bearer, Raila Amollo Odinga. Michael Opiyo, who was among the revellers in Kitengela, said; "if Obama has won this race, what will stop Raila from going to State House?"

In Eldoret, huge crowds turned up to watch the proceedings in the US. John Kotut was very excited about Obama's re-election, saying it had a positive impact to the country's development.

He was optimistic that the projects that are funded by the US government will continue receiving US's support. "I am very happy that our own man has been re-elected. We have several projects being funded by the US and we are now assured that we will continue receiving their support," Kotut said.

Kotut was worried that the funding might be cut if Romney had won the election. However, Vivian Ouya said there's nothing to celebrate about Obama's win.

"I don't see any need of celebrating because the man has not helped us though he has Kenyan roots. Anyway I am happy for him," Ouya said.

In Limuru and Kiambu districts, residents were all glued on television sets in hotels and pubs listening to President Obama's speech after he won the hotly contested American election.

Those interviewed by the Star said although Obama's win will not change anything in Kenya, they nevertheless hope that Obama would now visit his family in Kenya.

Limuru businessman and Kamirithu Polytechnic board chairman Gad Munyaka said Obama made major strides in fighting global terrorism in his first term.

"He did nothing provocative and people should not blame him for the economy because recession is everywhere in the world," said Munyaka said.

Kiambu County governor aspirant William Josiah Kuria said Obama is a true son of Kenya and that his win will bring the country closer to the American people.

Kiambu youth leader David Mumita said the youth in America have demonstrated that they can make a difference and bring change.

"I appreciate the spirit that the American youths have shown the world through volunteerism - they have indeed demonstrated that the youth can be agents of change in society. They did not look at Obama's race. This is something that Africans should embrace in this 21st Century," said Mumita.

Limuru Kigamba Dancers chairman Daniel Mukanga congratulated Obama, but challenged him to visit his family in Kenya.

"We are proud as Kenyans to have one of our own as president in America. This being his last term, we hope that he will visit his grandmother and Kenyans in general who have continued to support him through prayer," Mukanga said.

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