Haitian-born hip-hop star and humanitarian activist Wyclef Jean will announce his bid for his native country's presidency this week, CNN and Time magazine have reported. Wyclef, whose interest in the post has been rumored in recent weeks, will make the announcement on CNN's "Larry King Live" show tomorrow, the cable network said quoting a source close to the recording artist. A spokeswoman for the 37-year-old Grammy Award winner confirmed that he was scheduled to appear on the CNN talk show tomorrow and "that will be his first announcement", but declined to give further details.
Current president Rene Preval, who named Wyclef as a Haiti goodwill ambassador in 2007, is barred by the constitution from seeking a new term in the elections scheduled for November 28. The Caribbean nation is struggling to emerge from a massive January 12 earthquake that killed 250,000 people and left 1.5 million homeless. Mr Preval's mandate expires in February 2011, but several parties have accused him of seeking to stay in office, adding political tensions to the economic and humanitarian troubles afflicting the impoverished country.
Yesterday Time said Wyclef told the magazine he would announce his campaign for president shortly before the August 7 deadline. "If not for the earthquake, I probably would have waited another 10 years before doing this," Wyclef said on Time's website. "The quake drove home to me that Haiti can't wait another 10 years for us to bring it into the 21st century." The singer-songwriter also said he saw no contradiction between his artistic career and his political aspirations.
"If I can't take five years out to serve my country as president, then everything I've been singing about, like equal rights, doesn't mean anything," he told the weekly. Last week, amid the rumours of a possible presidential run, the Jean family said in a statement that "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."