* Obama re-election fails to bring jubilation seen in 2008
* President urged to focus on Africa education, health
* People hope Obama may visit Africa again, babies named
By Njuwa Maina and Ben Makori
KOGELO, Kenya, Nov 7 Kenyans in Barack Obama's
ancestral homeland stayed up all night and danced with joy on
Wednesday as America's first black president won a second term
in the White House, raising the prospects of a fresh start for
his ties with Africa.
Many Africans feel Obama has not responded to their huge
enthusiasm when he won the presidency four years ago with an
increased U.S. commitment to the world's poorest continent
during his first term.
His re-election failed to rouse the same level of jubilation
that was seen across Kenya following his 2008 election victory.
But as news of Obama's victory came through, hundreds of
people gathered in his late father's village, and cheers and
chants of "Obama, Obama, Obama!" erupted when key U.S. states
fell to the east African country's favourite adopted son.
In the tiny western hamlet of Kogelo, men waved tree
branches and banged drums at the Obama family home where his
grandmother Sarah lives. Women ululated and cried tears of joy,
muttering prayers of thanksgiving.
Obama's grandmother joined in the dancing and cheering
outside her house after the results were declared.
"He is welcomed home," she told reporters. "I would just
like to tell him to give his best to the people who have shown
their faith in him by electing him."
Obama, who hails his African roots, visited sub-Saharan
Africa only once in his first four years - a stopover of less
than a day in Ghana between summits elsewhere.
President Mwai Kibaki, who declared a national holiday in
Obama's honour four years ago, this time merely sent him a
message of congratulations for his victory over Republican Mitt
Romney, saying he hoped Obama would deepen ties with Kenya.
However, in Kogelo, where Obama's father was
born and buried, they still celebrated his win with gusto.
Residents saw his victory as a boost for Kenya-U.S.
relations. Some said it gave Obama another chance to provide
more development aid to the continent, and many still held out
hope that he would visit the country of his father's birth.
"If I had a chance to talk to him, which hopefully I will
get after he is inaugurated again, my message would be to focus
on Africa," Mustafa Obama, the president's half brother said as
he plucked weeds and tended to flowers on their father's grave.
"If he can put more emphasis on education, health and all
that matters to Africa instead of politics, that is my message
to my brother," he told Reuters.
Obama, who was born in Hawaii to a white mother from
Kansas and a Kenyan father, has been idolised by many Africans
in the way the Irish revered U.S. President John F. Kennedy in
the 1960s - as one of their own who succeeded beyond their
Macharia Munene, a lecturer on international relations at
the United States International University, said Obama's
re-election gave him a chance of a fresh start with Africa.
"There is a possibility that he might want to be seen to be
more concerned than he was with regards to Africa. He may say,
'let me go and see my grandma, and say hi to Africa'. In that
sense it is an opportunity to start afresh," Munene said.
Some people in Kogelo had predicted an easy victory for
Obama. Witch doctor John Dimo had tossed some shells, bones and
other items to determine who would win Tuesday's election.
Pointing to a white shell on election day, he declared: "Obama
is very far ahead and is definitely going to win."
Several new-born babies at a hospital near Kogelo were named
after the U.S. president.
In the spirit of bipartisanship, Millicent Awuor, 20, named
her twins after both candidates. "I named the first twin Barack
and the second one Mitt," said Awuor, a housewife.