FORMER FUGEES rapper Wyclef Jean has filed papers with Haitian authorities formally opening his bid for the presidency of the Caribbean nation.
The 37-year-old rapper, who was born in the country but fled to the United States at age 9, says he retains a Haitian passport and has officially registered as the candidate of the Viv Ansamn (‘Live Together’) party.
The country goes to the polls in a general election on November 28, having originally scheduled elections for February which were then postponed after the devastating earthquake in January which killed up to 230,000 people.
In his first interview after filing his official nomination forms, the rapper told CNN that he had been ‘drafted’ by the Haitian population to offer “a piece of the dream that I got in America”.
“There’s a crowd behind me right now with so much excitement, because they feel hope is on its way,” he said.
Jean has already faced criticism from actor Sean Penn – who moved to Haiti to help the relief efforts after the earthquake – who questioned his motives in opting to run, despite having no political experience.
What the Haitian people need now is a leader who is genuinely willing to sacrifice – I haven’t seen or heard anything of him in these last six months that I’ve been in Haiti.
I think he’s an important voice. I hope he doesn’t sacrifice that voice by taking the eye off the very devastating realities on the ground.
Outgoing president René Préval has faced criticism for appearing as ineffective; though he was seen as bringing stability to a country that has seen more than its share of dictatorships, the economy had tumbled even before the January earthquake.
Aside from his output with the Fugees, Jean is probably best known for his hit ‘Perfect Gentleman’.
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