After helping Obama's 2012 campaign by representing the president's extended family, Malik Obama, 54, announced plans this weekend to run for political office himself, CBS News reported.
At a public gathering in Kogelo, President Obama's ancestral village and current home of his grandmother, Malik Obama announced his intention to run for governor in Siaya county in western Kenya as an independent. Malik Obama will likely run against Oburu Odinga, the brother of Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga and the current Assistant Minister for Finance.
The elder Obama sibling, who shares the same father as the current President of the United States, says that Siaya county has been the victim of poor management, and he hopes to turn it around. According to Bloomberg News, the rural county, which has about 842,000 residents, has a 35.3 % poverty rate. Siaya is also home to some of the highest rates of HIV and malaria infection in the country.
“Siaya county is facing a lot of problems from poor infrastructure to poverty due to bad leadership,” Obama said in the public announcement. “I will change this if elected.”
The election, scheduled to be held on March 4, will be the first national election in Kenya since 2007, when election disputes led to the deaths of over 1,100 people.
Obama has said that if elected, he will leverage his connection to the President to help affect change in the troubled county. Although Malik and Barack Obama did not meet until they were both in their twenties, the two are reportedly close. Each served as best man at the other's wedding, the Inquisitr reported.
Unlike President Obama, Malik Obama was raised in Nairobi, where he studied accounting and later went on to run an electronics store.