Obama's half-brother running for office in Kenya

Posted By GABRIELLE LEVY, UPI.com   |   Jan. 15, 2013 at 9:24 AM   |   Comments

Jan. 15 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama's older half-brother has made plans to follow in his little brother's footsteps with plans to run for governor in the Western Kenyan county of Siaya.

Malik Obama announced his plans Monday to run for the governorship as an independent candidate in the national elections on March 4, Bloomberg News reported.

Obama, speaking to a public gathering in Kogelo, about 200 miles west of Nairobi, said he hopes his famous sibling inspired his platform focusing on issues of the poor.

"Siaya county is facing a lot of problems from poor infrastructure to poverty due to bad leadership," he said. "I will change this if elected."

Kenya's struggles go beyond poverty and poor infrastructure: the most recent elections, in 2007, were marred by ethnic fighting that left more than a thousand dead and forced more than 350,000 people to flee their homes.

Poverty in Siaya County is extremely high--more than 35 percent--and has some of the highest HIV and malaria rates in the country, according to the Commission on Revenue Allocation.

Obama's opponent may be a brother of Kenya's current Prime Minister Raila Odinga, Oburu Oginga, who has sought the nomination of the Orange Democratic Movement for the governorship.

Although Obama holds a degree in accounting from the University of Nairobi, he has been running an electronics store since moving from the city back to the family's ancestral village.

Obama, 54, is the son of the Barack Obama Sr. by his first wife, Kezia. He has been a frequent visitor to the U.S., serving as a consultant in Washington, and he and his half-brother served as best man at each other's weddings after first meeting in Kenya in 1985.

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