Obama inspires half-brother to run for office in Kenya

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INSPIRED TO RUN–Malik Obama, the half brother of President Obama, who has opened a recreation center, talks to CNN’s David MacKinsie Nov. 3, 2012. In Kenya’s next elections Obama is running for Governor. (CNN Photo/Lillian Leposo)

 

by CNN Political Unit

NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) — “Have thick skin, be honest, and sincere.”

That’s the campaign advice Malik Obama says he received from his half-brother President Barack Obama late last year. Malik Obama is running for governor of Siaya County in Kenya where his and President Obama’s father Barack Obama Sr. was born.

Malik Obama told CNN he discussed his campaign with the American president on November 16 during a visit to the United States. The two men have remained close since they first met in the 1980s, and each served as the other’s best man at their weddings.

Malik isn’t sure whether the Obama name is an advantage to him — though many Kenyans love Barack Obama — but Malik hopes that being an Obama will give him an edge over his political rivals.

He’s also harnessing some of the rhetoric employed by President Obama during his election campaigns. Malik Obama told CNN he wants to bring change in Siaya just like his brother brought change in the United States.

“My agenda is 1) poverty eradication, 2) infrastructure development, and 3) industrialization,” he said.

Malik Obama says he has travelled widely, and feels that it’s his duty and obligation to bring the development he has seen in other parts of the world to his constituency.

Siaya County, with a population of just over 800,000, edges Lake Victoria in the western part of Kenya.

CNN’s Lilian Leposo in Nairobi and Kevin Liptak in Washington contributed to this report.

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