By Shawna Collier
(Port Au Prince, Haiti) He’s mismanaged funds and his home is in foreclosure. Wyclef Jean says those are just two of the traits that make him the perfect person to run Haiti.
“Haiti doesn’t have any money, so knowing how to manage it really shouldn’t be a requisite for the job,” Jean told The Peoples News. “And I know the problems of the Haitian people. My country–by which I mean Haiti, not the United States where I have lived for the last 30 years–has been demonized, ignored and marginalized by the West. No one can understand that better than someone who has worked with Lauryn Hill.”
Jean, who worked with Hill while both were in the Fugees, says he’s not worried that his recent misdeeds, including the misappropriation of funds for his Yele Haiti charity, will be held against him.
“I mean, people still love me for The Score, and that was nearly 15 years ago,” he said, referring to the Fugees’ breakout album. “As long as you do one great thing, people let you roll with that forever.”
Not everyone is happy about his candidacy. Actor Sean Penn, who has lived in Haiti since the horrible earthquake in January–and, did we mention, has an Oscar–is an expert on Haiti’s needs.
“Listen, I’m a white man who’s lived among black people for six entire months. Well, most of the time. Much of the time. Therefore, I know their every nuance and want, and I say Wyclef isn’t the leader they need,” Penn said. “I know I haven’t seen or heard anything of him in these last six months that I’ve been in Haiti.”
Penn admitted that all the Haitians look pretty much the same to him, so he could have actually been sleeping in the same room as Jean.
“Still, I am all-knowing when it comes to understanding suffering. I was in When The Levees Broke for God’s sake,” he said. “Look at me!”
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, however, says Jean is highly qualified to lead Haiti.
“I’m the husband of someone whose uncle was president 50 years ago, so I know qualified candidates when I see them,” said Schwarzenegger, his robot eyes gleaming. “Wyclef is the Haitian Bono. Sometimes I call him Haitian Bono, and we are as one in our beliefs. Me and Haitian Bono. Bonoclef.”
Jean is one of six people seeking the presidency. He said his first priority will be getting Haitians back on their feet.
“Though I’m not sure where I will hide all the couches and chairs so they have to stand up,” he said, before breaking into his thunderous laugh.
“No, but really, I’m going to focus on rebuilding the country’s infrastructure. And by ‘rebuilding,’ of course, I mean creating something that has never actually existed.”
Jean, an ambassador-at-large for the country, is gearing up his fund-raising efforts. He figures he’ll need at least $200 to fend off the other candidates.
The election is November 28.
© 2010 The Peoples News