Wyclef Jean to run for Haiti presidencyHaitian-born hip-hop star and humanitarian activist Wyclef Jean will announce his bid for his native country’s presidency this week, CNN and Time magazine have reported.
Jean, whose interest in the post has been rumored in recent weeks, will make the announcement on CNN’s “Larry King Live” show tomorrow, the cable network said, quoting a source close to the recording artist.
A spokeswoman for the 37-year-old Grammy Award-winner confirmed that he was scheduled to appear on the CNN talk show tomorrow, and “that will be his first announcement,” but declined to give further details.
Current president Rene Preval, who named Jean as a Haiti goodwill ambassador in 2007, is barred by the constitution from seeking a new term in the elections slated for Nov. 28.
The Caribbean nation is struggling to recover from a massive earthquake that struck on Jan. 12, killing 250,000 and leaving 1.5 million homeless.
Preval’s mandate expires in February 2011, but several parties have accused him of seeking to stay in office, adding political tension to the economic and humanitarian troubles afflicting the impoverished country.
Yesterday, Time reported that Jean told the magazine he would announce his campaign for president shortly before the Aug. 7 deadline.
“If not for the earthquake, I probably would have waited another 10 years before doing this,” Jean said on Time’s Web site. “The quake drove home to me that Haiti can’t wait another 10 years for us to bring it into the 21st century.”
The singer-songwriter also said he saw no contradiction between his artistic career and his political aspirations. “If I can’t take five years out to serve my country as president, then everything I’ve been singing about, like equal rights, doesn’t mean anything,” he told the weekly magazine.
Last week, amid rumors of a possible presidential run, the Jean family said in a statement that, “Wyclef’s commitment to his homeland and its youth is boundless and he will remain its greatest supporter regardless of whether he is part of the government moving forward.”
A founding member of the Grammy Award-winning 1990s hip-hop and reggae band The Fugees, before embarking on a successful solo career, Jean lives in the New York area but has traveled to Haiti several times seeking to help end violence and help the most disadvantaged Haitians. Should Jean run for president, he may do so against his own uncle, Raymond Joseph, who has been Haiti’s ambassador to the U.S. since 2005.