Malik Obama, the step-brother of U.S. President Barack Obama, said he will run for governor of the western Kenyan county of Siaya, where he may face a sibling of Prime Minister Raila Odinga.
Obama, 54, will compete as an independent candidate during the March 4 national elections, he told a public gathering yesterday in Kogelo, about 310 kilometers (193 miles) west of the capital, Nairobi. Obama, who shares the same father as the U.S. president, said he will use his relationship with his half-brother to address issues such as poverty and unemployment.
“Siaya county is facing a lot of problems from poor infrastructure to poverty due to bad leadership,” he said. “I will change this if elected.”
Kenya’s elections in March will be the first since 2007, when a dispute over the outcome triggered ethnic fighting in which more than 1,100 people died and at least 350,000 more were forced to flee their homes. Prime Minister Raila Odinga’s brother, Oburu Oginga, has sought the nomination of his party, the Orange Democratic Movement, for the governorship of Siaya.
The county, home to about 842,000 people, has a poverty rate of 35.3 percent, while HIV and malaria infection rates are among the highest in the country, according to Commission on Revenue Allocation data.