14 November 2012

East Africa: Region Reacts to Obama's Win

Nairobi — Barack Obama's step-grandmother led celebrations in his ancestral Kenyan homeland today as he rolled to re-election and a second term in the White House.

Meanwhile children at his old school in Jakarta celebrated in their classrooms as the results were announced.

Sarah Onyango Obama was seen singing and dancing in Nyang'oma Kogelo village where she lives in western Kenya, some 400km north of the capital Nairobi - is also the place where the president's late father Barack Obama was raised.

Obama is the son of a white mother from Kansas and a black father from Kenya and has five Kenyan half-brothers and a half-sister.

Since 2004, when Obama was running for the Senate in Illinois, the Harvard-trained lawyer and civil rights activist has enjoyed rock star status in Kenya.


Rwanda has welcomed Obama's re-election for a second term in office as good for bilateral relations of the two nations.

"I think it is a good thing and we are looking forward to continue the good relationship we share with America," stated Luis Mushikiwabo, Rwanda's Minister of foreign affairs.

Mushikiwabo told the press she expects progress to continue under Obama's reign noting however that Africa should not put all their hopes on a foreign leader whose first interests are the people who vote them.

"As I said, while we don't put demands on foreign leaders, Rwanda will hope to strengthen its relationship at different levels of cooperation with the American people," she said.

Most of East Africa was happy with Obama's victory over close rival Mitt Romney as the republican had been given leads by opinion polls in the build up to the election. But Obama's strength in key swing states saw him win the 270 required electoral college votes to earn him another four years on the job many thought he didn't perform well in his first term.

"We are in this together. We have fought our way back and certainly, America can do much better," said Obama shortly after winning.

But it's a continuation of old battles with bitter republican rivals and just a day after his victory, the two parties clashed on whether top tax rates should be raised to help resolve the looming debt crisis.

While Republicans said higher rates would damage the economy, Democrats insist it is the only equitable way to tackle the America's debt.

Republicans control the lower House and Speaker John Boehner sounded made it clear higher tax rates would be unacceptable to Republicans stating that the revenues come from "a growing economy, energized by a simpler, cleaner, fair tax code, with fewer loopholes and lower rates for all," and not from higher rates on higher earners.

The faltering economy which Obama promised and raised the hopes of so many in 2008 but failed to a larger extent almost cost him the second term yet his victory will be seen by many as a second chance to make sense of his famous 'Yes we can' motto that made him a darling of the world.

Analysts on American TV channel CNN think Obama hence a higher chance of getting Republicans to support his proposals including major market overhauls to address the unemployment problems whose rate was over 7% on election night.

Despite the key challenges, many agree that Obama is now more familiar with them and will know better to avoid what has not worked for him in the past. As America settles its domestic issues, China is fast eating into Africa consolidating its business ties on the continent through skillfully packaged aid which creates thousands of jobs for Chinese hence increasing their presence on the continent.

Whether Obama's second term in office will be a second chance for Africa to benefit more from one whose origins are more African than American remains to be seen but one thing for sure, Obama will put America before Africa.


President Jakaya Kikwete congratulated US President Barack Obama's for winning a re-election in Tuesday's elections.

"On behalf of the government and the people of the United Republic of Tanzania, and indeed, on my own behalf, I wish to send you and through you to the Democratic Party many compliments for the victory," said the president in a congratulatory message to Obama.

He said President Obama's re-election was a clear indication of the trust and confidence that Americans have in his exemplary leadership.

"As you prepare to assume the leadership of your country for the new term, I would like to assure you personally and on behalf of my government that we will continue to work very closely to boost the existing relationship between our two countries," he said.

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