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Last Updated: Saturday, 9 October, 2004, 17:55 GMT 18:55 UK
Kenyan media jubilant at Nobel win
TV viewers were quick to praise

The award of the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize to ecologist Wangari Maathai dominated the Kenya media as soon as the news broke.

TV and radio channels on Friday reported the announcement extensively and Saturday's newspapers are similarly ecstatic.

"Crusading Wangari scoops Sh110m Nobel Peace Prize" is the headline in Kenya's most widely circulated daily, the Nation. "Wangari Maathai on top of the world," says the People Daily.

The Saturday Nation and the Standard newspapers devote their first four pages to articles on the award, while the People Daily and Kenya Times also give the story great prominence.


Editorial writers and commentators are unstinting in their praise.

A major feat like Prof Maathai's is uplifting
Saturday Nation

The Standard pays a glowing tribute to the new Nobel laureate saying hers was a feat of "legendary proportions".

"Even the most cynical observer would find it hard not to agree that the Iron Lady of Kenya's environmental activism deserved this coveted prize", it says.

In an editorial entitled "It's kudos to Prof Maathai", the Nation thinks that the prize could not have come at a better time.

"The country is deeply divided by parochial inter- and intra-party politics," the paper says. "The population is disillusioned, frustrated and left to despair. In this scheme of things, a major feat like Prof Maathai's is uplifting."

Despite the praise, media observers note that apart from the congratulatory message to Mrs Maathai from President Kibaki, few such messages are reported from senior politicians both within the ruling party and opposition.


For the People Daily, Mrs Maathai's success is "one of those moments when Kenyans of all walks of life forgot their political, religious and ethnic differences and joined celebrations for a victory for the nation, indeed for Africa and women of the world."

Kenyan, and African women in general, can walk proud
The Standard

Mrs Maathai "stood up courageously against former President Daniel arap Moi's administration in her quest to save the country's forests from the grabbing mania", the paper says.

The Kenya Times which is owned by the former ruling Kanu party with which Mrs Maathai was often at odds, is also full of praise, stating that the award is "simultaneously a dizzying and humbling development".

A commentary by Mumbi Ngugi in The Standard and entitled 'Hail woman of Africa, you have done us all proud' notes that "Kenyan, and African women in general, can walk proud, secure in the knowledge that it is one of their own who has won the coveted prize."

The award is a "recognition of the role of women in Kenya, long downtrodden and relegated to the bottom" of society, she says.

Aids remarks

The Standard reports that, after receiving news of her award, Mrs Maathai "courted controversy on the issue of HIV/Aids and human rights".

''Although I am a biologist, I have not done any research. I may not be able to say who developed the (HIV) virus but it was meant to wipe out the black race," the report quotes her as saying.

The paper notes that this is not the first time that Mrs Maathai has made similar remarks.

BBC Monitoring, based in Caversham in southern England, selects and translates information from radio, television, press, news agencies and the Internet from 150 countries in more than 70 languages.

Profile: Wangari Maathai
08 Oct 04  |  Africa

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