Kenya Celebrates Obama Victory

One of the most moving things I saw was footage from Obama’s father’s area of Kenya.  They were playing music and dancing and just looked so happy.  The reporter said a bunch of people had gathered to pray for Obama the night before, and had been there for 17 hours or something, waiting to hear.  It was just beautiful.  (Update: Find out more here.)

Here’s a statement on Obama’s victory from Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki (who just declared a national holiday tomorrow in celebration of the American election results!):

“This is a momentous day not only in the history of the United States of America, but also for us in Kenya.

“The victory of Senator Obama is our own victory because of his roots here in Kenya. As a country, we are full of pride for his success.

“We the Kenyan people are immensely proud of your Kenyan roots. Your victory is not only an inspiration to millions of people all over the world, but it has special resonance with us here in Kenya.

“I am confident that your presidency shall herald a new chapter of dialogue between the American people and the world at large.”

I think it’s difficult to over-estimate how much Obama’s win means to the people of Africa.  Even from a purely symbolic perspective, it’s incredible.  (And Obama has very strong African policy — including HIV/AIDS issues — and has really highlighted the needs and importance of the continent during his career so far.)

Here’s a response from President Abdullahi Yusuf Ahmed of Somalia:

“I am congratulating Barack Obama for his election as the president of the United States of America.

“I am hopeful that he will help end major crises in the world, particularly the endless conflict in my country Somalia.

“This was an historic election in which a proper leader was elected. This is a great moment for America and Africa.”

I look forward to watching further African reactions to Obama’s win, and I’m hopeful as I look toward the unfolding story of America’s relationship with the nations of Africa.

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~ by h.e.g. on November 5, 2008.

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