Haitian-born hip-hop artist Wyclef Jean has filed for Haiti presidential contender on Thursday, August 5, Reuters reported. After filing the paperwork to run for president, Jean told cheering supporters in a downtown area of Port-au-Prince, "I would like to tell (U.S.) President Barack Obama that the United States has Obama and Haiti has Wyclef Jean."
Jean added, "This is the only president who will dance when Creole hip-hop is being played." Jean filed the papers at the electoral council to run as a candidate for the Viv Ansanm (Live Together) political party. The list of official candidates will be published on August 17, while the ballot will be held on November 28.
If Jean's candidacy is approved, he will face several candidates who might have more political clout. According to Associated Press, among the most formidable is ousted ex-Prime Minister Jacques-Edouard Alexis, who secured the backing of President Rene Preval's powerful Unity party this week. And if The Fugees former frontman successfully beats out his contenders, he has to live in Haiti for five consecutive years leading up to the election.
Jean is quite aware that he will be criticized for his election campaign, but he refuses to let his detractors stop him from helping Haiti. He told People, "Politics is a combat sport, so I expect nothing less than to be attacked everyday. (But the focus is) how we help get the Haitian people out of this mess."
"The suffering of the people of Haiti, the youth of Haiti which is the majority of the population can't take another five years of the corruption that's been going on for the past 200 years. This is why I'm running," Jean continued. "(My platform) has four pillars: education, job creation, instilling security into the culture, and, how do we get our agriculture back?"
And Jean is hoping to prove his qualifications if he wins the race, adding "Automatically, when people first see me they're going to say, 'Isn't that the guy from The Fugees?' But I'm hoping that next they'll say, 'Okay. He knows what he's talking about'."
Following January 12 earthquake that killed as many as 300,000 people in Haiti, Wyclef Jean has been active in raising money for his homeland through his Yele Haiti Foundation, has led appeals for international aid and built temporary shelters for homeless survivors.