KISUMU, Kenya — Kenyan radio shows interrupted their programming Friday and bus conductors shouted the news from the windows: President Barack Obama had won the Nobel Peace Prize.
The Norwegian Nobel Committee stunned many with its decision to award Obama the prize so early in his presidency for his initiatives to reduce nuclear arms and defuse tensions through diplomacy.
But few in Kenya were critical: The East African nation has a special regard for Obama, the son of a Kenyan economist and an American anthropologist.
“When I heard it on the radio I said ‘Hallelujah!'” said 65-year-old James Andaro. “It’s God’s blessing, this win is for Africa.”
In the Kenyan city of Kisumu, the capital of the home province of Obama’s father, radio shows interrupted broadcasting to have live phone-ins so callers could congratulate Obama on his win. Traders in the market huddled around hand-held radios and touts yelled the news to each other from the windows of local minibuses known as matatus. Many are already decorated with Obama’s picture.