In Kogelo, the ancestral village of
Barack Obama's father, residents
celebrate the victory of favorite son Barack Obama, Nov. 6.
Victory is 'God's
Plan' says Momma Sarah Obama (The Daily Nation, Kenya)
"The reason he
won is that God gave it to him ... Second, he has the knowledge of loving all
people, and doesn't have knowledge of division, which is also why he has won
... As much as I have to thank the American people for this, the victory is also
Africa's, as it solidifies our position within the globe's leadership. ... It's
God's plan, and most of all, he is an outstanding gentleman."
With singing and dancing on Wednesday, Barack Obama's ancestral
village celebrated the re-election of the son of their soil, who won because he
knows how to "love all people," his grandmother said.
Until the election results showed Obama had won, crowds
stayed up all night in Kogelo, a small village in
western Kenya nestled in the hills about 40 miles from the blue waters of Lake
"The reason he won is that God gave it to him,"
said Momma Sarah Obama, who will be 90 this year and is the third wife of the president's
paternal grandfather. Barack Obama has said that he regards her as his
"Second, he has the knowledge of loving all people, and
doesn't have knowledge of division, which is also why he has won," she
added, speaking to reporters on the lawn outside the family home in the Luo language.
“As much as I have to thank the American people for this, the
victory is also Africa's, as it solidifies our position within the globe's
leadership.” she said.
According to Mama Sarah, a combination of many factors
handed her grandson victory.
“It's God's plan, and most of all, he is an outstanding
gentleman.” she said.
Weary from an all-night vigil but happy at the win, people
cheered to welcome Mama Sarah and support the victory.
"It was tough this time ... nothing like last
time," said 35-year old chemist Calvin Odinga.
"But we were so happy Obama made it."
In Nairobi, Prime Minister RaildaOdinga praised a win he said would "reignite faith around
the world, but especially in Africa. It will restore the capacity of democracy
to deliver change and discard entrenched divisions."
In a statement to Obama, President MwaiKibaki offered his own congratulations. "Kenya,
as always, is proud of our association with you," he said. Kibaki said that the re-election was a re-affirmation of
the confidence the American people have in President Obama's leadership skills,
and praying for God's blessings, he offered President Obama best wishes for his
“On behalf of the government and people of Kenya, and on my
own behalf, I convey our congratulations to you for your well deserved victory.
I commend the American people for showing confidence in your leadership. Kenya,
as always, is proud of our association with you. We look forward to deepening relations
between our countries during your second term in office,” Kibaki
Prime Minister RailaOdinga said that the re-election of President Obama had
electrified the world.
"It is a tribute to the American people that amid trying
economic times that would have tested any incumbent, they have re-elected an
African American president. It is therefore also an outstanding personal
triumph for President Obama," said PM Odinga.
Vice President KalonzoMusyoka called Obama's re-election a huge win for the free
"It is our hope that he will use his second term to
work for peace and exert a positive influence across the globe," he said.
Deputy Prime Minister MusaliaMudavadi said Obama is one of the few American presidents
to be re-elected against a backdrop of a poorly-performing economy, and that Obama's
resilience is a lesson in how to turn adversity into opportunity. He also congratulated
Republican candidate Mitt Romney for conceding defeat.
"I also congratulate Mitt Romney for competing maturely
and conceding loss in the most polite manner," he said.
For Obama's grandmother, the re-election was more important
than his win four years ago. "He came back a second time and won,"
But MommaSarah also
sought to quell the disappointment of Kenyans who hoped the president would
visit Kenya during his first term. "We cannot be bitter," said Mama
Many in Kogelo stayed up all night
as the results trickled in, some splurging to attend coverage at a hotel on a wide-screen
TV, despite the $12 ticket price - a small fortune for most Kenyans.
Others gathered in a small darkened room nearby, with
diehard supporters refusing to sleep until the announcement was made. The first
part of the night was difficult, as the gap narrowed between Obama and his
Republican opponent Mitt Romney,.
"I was hoping... I knew Obama's strongholds would be
revealed later," said Frederick Odinga, a local
It was not until daybreak that news stations announced the
winner and the village exploded into cheers. On their way to school, some
children, mostly barefoot, paused for a few minutes near the small crowd of
shouting Obama supporters, some in tears, crying out "Obama, yes!"
But some would like to see Obama focus more on Africa - and
"He didn't come to Kenya ... he has really disappointed
us," said Jack Koyoko, a 32-year-old carpenter.
On the continent, the U.S. president only made it to Ghana during
his first term.
But thanks to the spotlight offered by Obama's first
election win, the once simple village of Kogelo has
changed a lot in the least four years. The main road is now paved, and there is
electricity and running water in some homes.
"We hope he will do more," Koyoko
added, as he joined others in their celebration.