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East Africans react to Rishi Sunak becoming UK prime minister

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LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - Britain's newly appointed Prime Minister Rishi Sunak waves to members of the media before entering 10 Downing Street after delivering his first speech as prime minister in London, United Kingdom on October 25, 2022. (Wiktor Szymanowicz - Anadolu Agency)
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Oct 26, 2022 - 03:07 AM

NAIROBI, Kenya/DAR ES SALAAM, Tanzania (AA) – Kenyans on Tuesday joined the world in congratulating 42-year-old Rishi Sunak, a Briton with Kenyan roots, as he became the next UK Prime Minister.

Sunak’s father Yashvir Sunak was born and raised in pre-colonial Kenya while his mother Usha Sunak was Tanzanian.

After living in East Africa for a while Sunak’s parents emigrated to the United Kingdom in the 1980s where Yashvir worked as a physician and Rishi owned and operated a small pharmacy.

On the streets of the Kenyan capital Nairobi, Kaniz Khan, 34, a Nairobi law student, hailed Sunak’s appointment as the Prime minister of the United Kingdom.

“This is the first time we are seeing someone rise to his position; he is an African-Indian British, his roots are from Kenya, people here, not only the Indian community are over the moon, we are so happy,” Khan said.

Naeema Abdulhamid Mona, 42, for her part said Sunak is just like former US president Barack Obama who has his roots from Homa Bay County in Kenya where his father hailed from.

“Race can never impede someone from their goal and God will always be the equalizer, he is not white, not that it matters but it shows how we have changed as humans,” Mona said.

Over to Tanzania where Sunak’s mother was born, the wave of euphoria also surged in Dar es Salaam as the Hindu community in the bustling city reacted to the appointment of Britain’s first Asian prime Minister.

Speaking with the Anadolu Agency, Fayaz Nasser, 69, a resident of Dar es Salaam of Indian origin said Sunak’s appointment is a significant milestone and a reminder of historical ties between Tanzania, India and Britain.

According to him, Sunak clinching the PM seat is a historic moment that shows people of different color, faith or religious background can rise up to the highest office without any obstruction.

Rishi Sunak also received congratulatory messages from African leaders; William Ruto (Kenya), Hassan Sheikh Mahamud (Somalia) and Hakainde Hichilema (Zambia) joined world leaders in congratulating the new British Prime Minister.

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