African Press International (API)

"Daily Online News Channel".

Posted by African Press International on August 31, 2008

Kenyans woke up Friday morning with the excitement that US Senator Barack Obama Thursday night made history by being the first black American to be nominated to run for the presidency, considering the fact that his father was Kenyan and he has still got family members in the country.

The 47- year-old senator laid out his plan to lead the country into an era of change as he accepted the Democratic presidential nomination, securing his place in history as the first African-American to lead a major party ticket.

If he wins the presidential elections he will make history in America, as he will become the first black president, said Christine Nkatha a Nairobi resident.

Born on August 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii, Obama is the son of a Kenya-born Harvard-educated economist, Barack Obama Senior of Nyangoma Kogelo Siaya district in western Kenya and Ann Dunham, an American anthropologist from Wichita, Kansas.

His parents met while attending the University of Hawaii at Manoa, where his father was a foreign student.

They separated when he was two years old and later divorced. Obamas father returned to Kenya and saw him only once more before dying in an automobile accident in 1982.

His mother died of ovarian cancer in 1995.

Kenyans generally and the media has been closely monitoring the progress of the Illinois senator since February 10, 2007; when he declared his candidacy for the 2008 Democratic nomination for the presidency.

Since the beginning of the year, international journalists have camped near the home of Obamas 86 year-old grandmother, forcing the family to appoint a spokesman to handle the press.

It is like a football match and he scored the first goal. We are just waiting for the others, Obamas grandmother was quoted saying by the local media at her rural home in Kogelo.

She said that the family closely monitors the political progress of their son in a distant land and exuded confidence that he will win the November presidential elections.

The younger Obama was mostly raised in Hawaii and did not know his father well, but his presidential bid has sparked excitement in Kenya and he has always kept contact with his family. Thousands were drawn to his appearances during his 2006 visit.

During his last visit, Obama touched on themes not normally debated openly in Kenya, criticizing the high-level corruption and the tribal politics that have dominated the country since its 1963 independence from Britain.

If Obama is elected, he would improve relations between Africa and America because he had his roots in Africa, said Simon Mbugua, a hawker in Nairobi.

In Kogelo, a local secondary school has been named in honor of the senator, with the school christened, Senator Obama Kogelo secondary school.

The fact that Obama has Kenyan roots and he is contesting to become an American President, has placed Kenya in the international arena, despite the many challenges we face as a country, said Janet Nduta, a cyber caf attendant.



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