President Wyclef? Singer Considers New Haiti Campaign

By Jamilah King Jul 27, 2010

One of Haiti’s most beloved native sons is considering a run for the country’s often contentious top office. Representatives for Wyclef Jean, the former Fugees frontman who was born in the country but infamously grew up in Brooklyn, said in a statement released to reporters this morning that he’s still undecided about entering the quake-ravaged nation’s presidential race.

"Wyclef’s commitment to his homeland and its youth is boundless, and he will remain its greatest supporter regardless of whether he is part of the government moving forward … If and when a decision is made, media will be alerted immediately," the statement read.

In a recent interview with the Associated Press, Jean confirmed his plans to be involved in the November 28 election, either as a candidate or supporter.

"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 said. "The youth population … we are going to encourage them to vote."

Of course, he comes with his own baggage of corruption. After the country was hit by this year’s devastating earthquake, Jean’s Yele Haiti Foundation was widely criticized for misspending relief money. After raising more than $2 million in quake relief funds through a special text message campaign, it was revealed that before the quake hit, the organization paid Jean to perform at fundraising events and bought ad time on a TV station owned by the singer. At the time, Jean voiced disappointment at what he called the attack on his integrity and foundation.

Term limits prohibit current President Rene Preval from seek re-election, while exiled President Jean-Bertrand Aristide remains in South Africa, where he fled after a violent coup in 2004.

Wyclef has until the August 7 deadline to make his decision. Dozens of candidates are reportedly jockeying for the office, and the job of reconstruction in a country ravaged by a quake that killed more than 300,000 people and caused billions in structural damage is sure to be a tough one.

(Photo by Gustavo Caballero/Getty Images)