Kenyans celebrate their US son

November 5, 2008 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, November 5 – A mood of celebration is apparent in the country as democratic nominee Barack Obama, whose father hailed from Kenya, registered a considerable lead in the United States election.

Kenyans kept vigil in entertainment joints in the capital throughout Tuesday night as they followed keenly and waited anxiously for the results of the historic poll where Republican nominee John McCain was left razor thin.

Those interviewed by Capital News in the City streets early morning couldn’t hide their confidence that ‘one of their own’ would trounce his rival McCain who trailed for much of the night. Most of them were gearing up for ‘real celebrations’ later in the day.

"So far so good and we are happy and the celebrations will continue here in the city and down in Kogelo," said one resident who had followed the results through the night.

"I will probably do something that I have not done for some time like buy new clothes," was the answer George Otieno gave when asked what he would do if Senator Obama won the polls.

A party kicked off early morning at the American Ambassador’s residence in the Kenyan capital, attended by journalists, members of the diplomatic corps and top government officials.

Nobel Laurent Wangari Maathai who was part of the great multitude waiting expectantly at the residence for the final tally told Capital News that she, would plant a tree in commemoration of an Obama victory.

"I want to remember his victory by a tree," the veteran environmentalist who was recognised for her role in fighting forest depletion in the country said.

And it was not only Ms Maathai who was gearing up for something memorable. Water Minister Charity Ngilu had a plan lined up. "Today I am going to see that we can ensure that our rivers are protected," she said.

Assistant Minister for roads Lee Kinyanjui said: "It is a historic moment for all of us in a big way and the mood here is ecstatic."

At Obama senior’s ancestral home at Kogelo in Nyanza, family and friends stayed awake through the night and followed the results from a big screen television. A bull was being fattened in readiness for a scheduled celebration party of their son’s victory.

An inter-denominational prayer meeting on Tuesday night was interrupted by a heavy down pour. More celebrations were expected in Kisumu city.

Barack Obama, the 47 year-old senator from Illinois, has endured a grueling 21 month-long campaign where he trounced former first lady Hillary Clinton for the Democratic vote.

Kenyans have followed the election campaigns keenly with the hope that an Obama win would bring good tidings.


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