Haitian-born singer Wyclef Jean is reportedly one step closer to announcing his candidacy for the country’s highest office. The ex-Fugees star, who left Haiti as a young child and spent his formative years in Brooklyn, is set to announce his decision tomorrow.
The move certainly wouldn’t be without its share of controversy. Jean’s charitable foundation Yele was accused of fraud shortly after raising $2 million in a popular text message campaign in the aftermath of January’s devastating earthquake that killed upwards of 300,000 people. Before the quake hit, the foundation was widely criticized for misspending relief funds, allegedly paying Jean to perform at benefit concerts and buying advertising time on a television station owned by the singer.
He’s also taking heat for allegedly supporting the 2004 coup of popular President Jean-Bertrand Aristide, who remains exiled in South Africa.
Previously, Jean has downplayed his political intentions.
“Do I have political intentions? At this time no. But what I do have is a movement — it’s called Face a Face, ‘Face to Face’,” Jean told reporters a few weeks ago. “The youth population … we are going to encourage them to vote.”
If Jean does decide to run for office, he’ll certainly have a tough road to forge. January’s magnitude 7.0 earthquake wasn’t just deadly, but exceedingly costly: an estimated 30,000 commercial buildings collapsed or were severely damaged and 250,000 homes were destroyed, leaving an estimated 100,00 people homeless. While the International Monetary Fund recently cancelled the country’s $286 million debt, most of the international aid promised to help reconstruction efforts still hasn’t arrived.