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Bouquets and barbs for Obama

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 9 – Mixed reactions greeted the naming of American President Barack Obama as this year’s Nobel peace prize winner.

The winner of the prize in 2004 Prof Wangari Maathai termed the nomination “extraordinary and wonderful inspiration to the world.” She said it would be challenging and encouraging to Kenya and Africa.

“We should be challenged to stop conflicts and unite to eliminate poverty in Africa. (President) Obama has been a star in the world and has shown how we can come together and work together in a cooperative way,” Prof Maathai told the CNN on phone.

Prof Maathai hailed Mr Obama’s initiative in handling the economic crisis and peace building across the Muslim world.

“Peace is so much in his mind and he is using diplomacy to stretch hand to others with mutual respect and dignity,” she said.

But readers on Capital News website were skeptical whether the son of a Kenyan qualified to get the award. Many questioned whether the most powerful President in the world had done anything tangible to warrant the prize.

“I do not believe Obama has done much to warrant this award. He is facing more challenges than successes,” complained Michael Kinuthia. “Wangari Maathai earned it in 2004. Obama did not!”

Mikel Chase, another reader disputed the award, saying that Mr Obama had not done anything extraordinary.

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“Am not trying to be funny, but I think what he is doing is the core of his job description. In my opinion, the award should have been given to Sima Samar,” he said.

“This is not fair!” said Alpha Bett, the first reader to dispute the award. He is however facing opposition from Senate on his healthcare policy and his critics say he might not live up to the expectations.

In less than one year he has done more than any other person. He has shown the world that we don’t have to be confrontational. He deserved it,” said Benson, the only supporter of the award in the website comments.

President Obama however received support from Kenyans in Nairobi. Those interviewed by Capital New on the streets of the Capital said he deserved it

“Am lost for words, he deserved it and he is a role model for the rest of the world,” said one of those interviewed.

“He should take over the dream left by Martin Luther King,” said Martin Kimani.

President Obama became the first black America President making history and attracting great expectations.

President Obama was honoured "for his extraordinary efforts to strengthen international diplomacy and cooperation between peoples," the head of the Norwegian Nobel Committee Thorbjoern Jagland said.

The committee attached "special importance to Obama’s vision and work for a world without nuclear weapons" and said he had created "a new climate in international politics."

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