NAIROBI, Kenya A politician named Obama who is running for governor in Kenya can boast of one big claim to fame on the campaign trail: blood relations with the president of the United States.
Malik Obama, a half-brother of Barack Obama, is running for a governor’s position in the country’s nationwide elections Monday, though he said he’s not sure what effect his relationship to the American president has on his campaign.
“I’m going into it as Malik Obama,” he said in a phone interview from western Kenya. “I can’t run away from my name and association with my brother, but I have the feeling that people somewhat want to see who the brother of Obama is.”
The president’s relative even invokes the message that Barack Obama leaned on during his groundbreaking 2008 political campaign: Change. Malik Obama says his platform is poverty eradication, infrastructure development and industrialization.
“I hope that you all out there will support me and vote for me for this important position so that we can bring change to the county of Siaya,” Obama said at a recent campaign stop.
Kenyans on Monday will cast ballots for a wide range of regional offices, but the most crucial vote is for president. Monday is Kenya’s first nationwide election since the 2007 vote devolved into massive tribal violence that killed more than 1,000 people and displaced 600,000 from their homes.