Obama win : Kenya declares national holiday

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Kenya reverberated into a thunderous applause on Wednesday, moments after media projections showed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama has cruised to poll victory to become the first African-American President and his country’s 44th President.

Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki sent a congratulatory message to the newly-elected American President, saying Kenyans would join in the celebrations for his presidential poll victory and was looking forward to his administration.

The Kenyan leader has declared Thursday, 6 Nov. a public holiday to enable Kenyans to celebrate the victory of one of their own

Senator Obama, the son of a Kenyan economist and a white American mother, clinched the White House race after nearly two years of hard campaigning in a tight race which laid bare new changes in the American mainstream political landscape.

Senator Obama’s chief opponent, Senator John McCain, conceded defeat in a speech described by one political commentator as “generous and handsome concession speech.”

In Alego Kogelo, the rural home of Senator Barack Obama’s father, crowds who kept vigil all night long broke into song and dance, moments after the news of Obama’s electionn was beamed on gigantic television screens specially erected for the US polls.

Relatives and friends of the new President congregated near his ancestral home in Kogelo to await the announcement.

Obama’s landslide win for the Presidency was largely anticipated, as he clinched 338 electoral college votes to beat McCain, who could only muster 155.

In Nairobi, the US embassy hosted political analysts, politicians, journalists and school children to a night vigil to cement the new relationship between Kenya and the US.

“We are not partisan but we realize that Senator Barack Obama has relatives in this country and that is important,” US Ambassador to Kenya Michael Rannaberger said.

The US Embassy’s vigil was held alongside other celebrations in Kenya, where patrons braved the night to await for the results of the elections.

Meanwhile, wild celebrations of the victory are expected across the country as the news spread

Most entertainment spots countrywide have already announced a reduction in the cost of beer and, with the cost of petroleum products having dropped marginally by more than Ksh5, the celebrations are expected to run through the week.

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