Kenyans rejoice as 'favorite son' Obama is sworn in
1/31/2013, 12:41 p.m.
Jan. 22 (GIN)--There was exultant singing and dancing in the streets of Nairobi and around Kenya as Barack Hussein Obama rested his hand on two Bibles and was sworn in as 44th president of the United States.
Images of this East African nation's favorite son standing tall before a crowd of some 800,000 in Washington, D.C., were closely watched at the Kenyatta International Conference Center and on other large screens.
In Kogelo, the western Kenyan village where his late father grew up and where his grandmother, Sara Obama, still lives, residents feasted in Obama's honor.
"Mama Obama" spoke via Skype to Kenyans gathered in Washington, D.C., for an inaugural dinner. She sent wishes for "wisdom, good health and, very importantly, courage. I pray for him every single day."
Meanwhile, campaigning is under way to elect governors, senators and country assembly persons in Kenya's polls next month that observers hope will not devolve into divisive ethnic rivalries flaring into violence.
In the nationwide election in 2007, more than 1,000 died and hundreds of thousands were displaced, according to a new report produced by the International Crisis Group, a New York-based think tank. "Tensions are especially high this time around. Competition for land and resources, youth unemployment and reliance on ethnicity are only a few on a long list of serious problems," the report says.
Two coalition parties have emerged as strong contenders in the upcoming March 4 election. They are the Jubilee Alliance and the Coalition for Reforms and Democracy. Social media, which are widely used in Kenya, will be limited in an effort to forestall violence during the elections, the government announced. Text messages must in KiSwahili and English and be submitted 48 hours before scheduled dispatch. Registration certificates must accompany the text requests.