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‘We share America’s excitement in Obama’ wrote the Tanzanian Guardian’s editor, the morning after the historic American election results came out. The paper went on: ‘Americans have spoken – and spoken well. The world is genuinely excited for the United States, whose election has made history by producing a black president, and for the world as a whole….Indeed President-elect Barack Obama’s victory is not only an inspiration to millions of people all over the world but also has special resonance with the people of Africa, where his Kenyan father originated.

Another significant fact is that Americans have taken us through a major lesson in democracy – and this is that, despite the intensity of the contest and the stakes for the contestants, they have come out of it gracefully and truly tested.

One lesson that African politicians must take note of comes from the telephone call made to President-elect Obama by his main rival, Republican Party candidate John McCain. In that call, McCain acknowledged defeat with dignity and went on to concede the historic significance of Obama’s victory to the American people and their country`s politics. “I urge all Americans who supported me to join me in not just congratulating him (Obama) but offering our next president our goodwill, `” McCain stated.

That is how politicians in Africa should conduct themselves if our democracy is to grow to maturity and stabilise the continent……We wish the new US president and the American people well.

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