US President Barack Obama’s half brother Malik Obama, 54, has said he would be running for a county gubernatorial seat in Kenya’s general elections slated for March 4.
Obama, who shares a father with the US president, said his more celebrated brother’s feats have “inspired and challenged” him to launch into active politics.
“When I look at the success that my brother has had in America, I feel I would have let down my people if I do not follow in his footsteps and end their suffering through dedicated, honest and focused leadership,” Obama told AFP.
Speaking in Kogelo, his ancestral home in western Kenya, the trained economist said he is the most suitable candidate to deal with the “endless cycle of poverty and unemployment that bedevils” his people.
“I can confidently say that of all the people who are vying for the position, I am the best placed candidate … by virtue of my second name alone, I have the connections to bring development to Siaya,” he told AFP, referring to his home county -- some 100 km (60 miles) from Kenya’s lakeside city of Kisumu.
Though claiming he is charting his own path, Malik Obama is using his famed second name to seek an edge over his competitors, Oburu odinga -- Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga's brother.
Obama, who was best man at the US president's wedding, is running as an independent in a country dominated by political parties such as the Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) party led by Prime Minister Odinga and presidential front runner Uhuru Kenyatta’s The National Alliance party (TNA).
Hoping his links to Washington will help him clinch the seat, Obama said he plans to contest for the presidency in the next general election, due in 2018, if he is successful.