President Barack Obama’s Kenyan half-brother has launched his own political career by announcing his intention to run for a Kenyan county gubernatorial seat in the upcoming March 4 elections.

Malik Obama, 54, who shares a father with the US president, said in an interview late on Wednesday that the achievements of his brother have “inspired and challenged” him to get into active politics in his homeland.

“When I look at the success that my brother has had in the US, 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,” Malik said in his ancestral home of Kogelo in western Kenya.

The trained economist said he is the right candidate to deal with the “endless cycle of poverty and unemployment that bedevils my 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 said, referring to his home county 100 km from the lakeside city of Kisumu.

Although he says he is charting his own path, Malik Obama is using his now famous second name to try and get an edge over his competitors, who include the younger brother of Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga.

In a country polarized by dominant political parties, Malik Obama is running as an independent.

He said his links to Washington will help him clinch the seat. “Why would my people settle for a local connection when they have a direct line to the White House,” he said as he weaved his way through a group of supporters, the slogan “Obama here, Obama there” looming on posters.

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/world/rest-of-world/Obamas-half-brother-eyes-Kenya-political-role/articleshow/18069522.cms

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