6 Nov 2008

Kenya declares holiday for Obama

9:05 pm on 6 November 2008

Kenya declared Thursday a public holiday to celebrate the election of Barack Obama as the 44th president of the United States.

Senator Obama's father was from Kenya and his victory has prompted jubilation across the country.

The BBC reports that his step-grandmother was seen dancing and cheering jubilantly outside her house after the results were declared.

The family had stayed up all night in the western Kenyan village of Kogelo, watching the election count, and were preparing for a big party.

African leaders from South Africa to Somalia have sent their congratulations to the president-elect.

South Africa's first black president, Nelson Mandela, welcomed Senator Obama's victory as a sign of hope for everyone.

"Your victory has demonstrated that no person anywhere in the world should not dare to dream of wanting to change the world for a better place," he said in a letter of congratulations.

Archbishop Desmond Tutu said it showed "that for people of colour, the sky is the limit".

African policy

The BBC reports Senator Obama will inherit a foreign policy legacy in Africa that has been one of the high points of the Bush administration.

Earlier this year, President Bush toured five African nations and people greeted him in their thousands to applaud him for America's huge contribution in the fight against HIV/AIDS.

Since its launch five years ago, his AIDS relief programme has spent more than $US15 billion on the continent and saved many thousands of lives.