Kenya: Obama mania hits the whole country


Every Kenyan now wants to be identified with the US democratic presidential candidate senator Barack Obama as traders cash in on the euphoria.

Thousands of Kenyans are rushing to buy T-shirts, caps, badges, scarves and other apparel with Obama’s portrait. In fact the country’s prime minister Raila Odinga is now wearing a badge with Obama’s portrait on his coat lapel sending a strong message that he supports him.

Obama traces his roots in kenya’s rural kogelo village in Siaya district –about 500 km west of Nairobi- where his late father was born and buried. Obama’s grandmother Sarah is currently being accorded tight security by the Kenyan government after Obama won the democratic party primaries. The Kenyan government has set up a police post in Sarah’s compound guarded by 20 heavily armed policemen

In Kenya many believe that Obama will be the next US  president after the election and they see the win as a blessing to Kenya where the US democratic candidate traces his roots. They expect Obama to visit Kenya after his victory to pay homage to his paternal ancestors.

With the Kenyan euphoria on obama, several traders are making millions of money printing the apparels and other insignia to meet the growing demand of Obama’s image in form of his portrait. Sam Wanyama, a 21 year old college student could not wait or the Kenyan stuff and instead ordered his Obama T-Shirt directly from the US paying $25 for it.

Other Kenyans have had their cars and work places branded with Obama images. Musicians have already composed popular songs in praise of him with the lyrics being on high demand both in shops and in night clubs where revelers demand the music to be played on several occasions.

By Ken Chelimo, correspondent for East Africa

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