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Kenyans wait for Obama’s historic win in US election

By | November 5th 2008
By | November 5th 2008

By Winsley Masese and Isaac Ongiri

Kenyans across the country on Tuesday united in following the US elections, where Barack Obama — whose father was Kenyan — was largely expected to win.

In Nyanza, residents spent most of the day glued to their television sets and radios.

"I don’t know whether I am excited or sad. I am feeling something strange in me and it’s all about Obama," said Abisai Omollo, a vendor in Kisumu.

Residents began gathering in large groups by 2pm when voting began in the US. Many of them were following events from TVs and radios in social places.

Mzee Christopher Ojienda, said the euphoria surrounding the US presidential elections in Kenya was because Obama has his roots in Kenya. "It’s also about his charisma. Many people want to identify with him. He is a role model," he said.

The Obama bug had even bitten villagers in far flung areas of Nyanza where FM radio stations became handy in monitoring the elections.

"I will not sleep today until I hear the final results, " said Michael Obiero, a teacher in Nyando District.

Mrs Jane Okuto, a Kisumu street vendor was holding her breath. "We are to going togain greatly because he has been an inspiration to many," she said.

"Obama is like a brother to many of us and we feel proud and if he wins the presidency," she added.

At the Kisumu Bus Park, the discourse was dominated with an Obama victory. Wearing badges, tee-shirts, bearing the portrait of Obama, they expressed confidence that the world would experience change in a big way.

And Nairobi joined the rest of the World in monitoring the US presidential elections.

Though it was a working day, several Nairobi residents put on in T-shirts bearing Obama’s portrait while others pined badges on their lapels.

Motorists stuck pro-Obama campaign materials on their vehicles as public transport vehicles played music in his praise.

Precious image

Huge billboard advertising the Obama campaign was the centre of attraction for many city dwellers that stood at the junction of Uhuru and Haile Selassie highway at gazed at the digitally powered advert.

Any product bearing the image of Obama, a man whose father Obama Snr was Kenyan, was precious enough.

Hotels and restaurants mounting huge TV screens were also attracted customers out to catch a glimpse of what was going on in the US elections.

Some city residents’ preference for a certain brand of beer was also evident in a number of bars as excitement grew.

"Most patrons are asking for Senator, while those who could not afford went for Senator Keg," said a city bar manager.

At Nairobi’s River Road, music stores played music glorifying the Democratic presidential candidate, which also sold like hot cakes.

Big screens were set to be mounted at the KICC and the Carnivore Restaurant for city dwellers to watch the live relay of voting exercise in the US.

News of the death of Obama’s grandmother dampened the mood of most of his supporters in Nairobi but elation returned when news flash showed the senator had won Hampshire against McCain was received.

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