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Kenya VP hails Obama award

NAIROBI, Kenya, Oct 10 – Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka has commended US President Barrack Obama for winning the 2009 Nobel Peace prize.

Kalonzo said on Saturday that the award was a proper tribute to the US President for his peace efforts in various parts of the world.

He urged President Obama to continue with his initiatives and resolve all the conflicts among the countries with unresolved disagreements.

But Garsen Member of Parliament Danson Mungatana described the decision by the Norwegian Nobel Committee premature, as it came barely nine months into Obama’s presidency.

He stated that the award should have been given to a more prolific person like chief mediator Kofi Annan.

"At any rate he has just become president. Which peace process has he done? Maybe Kofi Annan should have been given because I remember Kofi Annan trying to sort us out (Kenya’s post-election violence)," he said.

"This is a clear case of American rigging the Nobel Peace Prize. Those people are good at rigging. You remember they rigged in President Bush? Obama won his (election) but I think that in this case, they rigged the Nobel Peace prize."

President Obama sensationally won the Nobel Peace Prize on Friday, less than a year after he took office with the jury hailing his "extraordinary" diplomatic efforts on the international stage.

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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."

Obama took office on January 20, and has since then sought to restore US standing in the world after widespread criticism over the war in Iraq and the world superpower’s attitude to efforts to control global warming.

The first black American president has brought the Israeli and Palestinian leaders together for a meeting, approved new diplomatic engagement with Iran, Myanmar and North Korea and signaled a new willingness to attack growing environmental problems.

Mr Obama went to Cairo to make a major speech on relations with the Muslim world, badly tarnished by President George W. Bush’s order to invade Iraq. At the United Nations, he has launched an initiative to reduce the number of nuclear weapons in the world.

The first black American president 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 hailed his efforts at dialogue, highlighting their importance in resolving major issues of today, such as disarmament, climate and human rights.

The 2008 Peace Prize winner Martti Ahtisaari, the former Finnish president and veteran troubleshooter in international conflicts, said the award should "encourage" Obama’s Middle East peace efforts.

Mr Obama, who five years ago was a virtual political unknown, is the third US president in office to win the coveted award, after Theodore Roosevelt in 1906 and Woodrow Wilson in 1919. Former US president Jimmy Carter won the prize in 2002.

Last year, the Peace Prize, which consists of a gold medal, a diploma and a cheque worth 10 million Swedish kronor ($1.42 million), went to Finnish mediator and former president Ahtisaari.

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The formal prize ceremony will take place in Oslo on December 10, the anniversary of the death of in 1896 of the prize’s creator, Swedish industrialist and inventor of dynamite Alfred Nobel.


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