I just read this in Time magazine and feel compelled to post it. R’n’B star Wyclef Jean is thinking about running to be President of Haiti. I know very little about Haiti. I’ve never been there and I wouldn’t dare suggest to the Haitian people how they should run their country. I also know nothing about Wyclef Jean.
But, doesn’t this seem like an awful idea?
Haiti is still suffering hugely because of the earthquake. There’s definitely a role for Jean, as an ambassador, an ombudsman, and international face for his nation. But for a musician to be President of a country is daft. What qualifications does he have? Has he any experience in running a country? Has he any experience running anything? No. He’s a singer.
There may be some constitutional questions over the viability of his run. Under Haitan law, one must have resided in Haiti for five consecutive years, owns property in the country and has never been a citizen of any country other than Haiti. Jean was born in Haiti, left at age 9 and was raised in New York City.
The filing deadline is Friday, August 7th and he’d run as a member of the one-year-old party Ensemble Nous Faut.
If he ran, would he win? I think so.
About half of Haiti's population is between the ages of 15 and 29. He’d have endless money behind him, a recognizable name and face and is seen as a champion in Haiti. Haitian Sydney Meristal, 23, is quoted in the Time article: "Wyclef loves Haiti. He has ideas for Haiti," says Meristal. "If Wyclef decides to run, he'll win."
Another young man, Steve Burr-Renauld, 23, says he would not vote for Jean because he doesn't have the credentials to run the poorest country in the western hemisphere. "What if [rapper] Jay-Z became President of the United States? That would never happen," says Burr-Renauld. "We already took a bullet in the knee after the earthquake. If Wyclef were President, we would be taking a bullet to the head."
If he runs, it’ll certainly be an interesting election.