Everyone’s having a good old chuckle over Wyclef Jean’s plan to run for president of Haiti. Ha ha! Imagine – the bloke from the Fugees in high political office! How many times will he run – one time? Two times? (courtesy of David Quantick, that gag). And so on.
Actually, I’m not sure we should be laughing. We should be appalled.
Haiti is one of the poorest, most benighted nations on earth. This year’s earthquake was just the latest in a string of natural disasters. What the country needs is a leader who can rebuild its obliterated infrastructure – not a deluded pop star who hasn’t lived there since he was nine, and believes his fame is the only experience he needs.
Jean has literally no qualification for this job. What’s he going to do to alleviate the country’s suffering – sing ‘Guantanamera’ at them? Actually I tell you what he can do. He can donate some of his multi-million dollar fortune to help build houses for some of Haiti’s two million homeless people.
And by that I mean his own money, not funds raised through his murky Yéle Haiti Foundation, which, in 2006 – as uncovered by The Smoking Gun – managed to shell out $100,000 in performance fees to, er, Wyclef Jean. Charitable, huh?
Still, at least he’s being humble about the whole running-for-President thing. “America has Barack Obama and Haiti has Wyclef Jean,” he declared to the press upon announcing his candidacy. “It’s a moment in time and in history.” Give it a rest, mate. This is politics, not a world tour. It’s supposed to be about public service, not stoking your own ego.
Besides which, can you really imagine Wyclef Jean holding forth on the world stage? You can just picture meetings of the UN Security Council: Sarkozy, Merkel, Berlusconi… and the bloke who sang ‘Gone Til November’. The guy’s such a rampaging egotist, he actually talks about himself in the third person. Not even Tony Blair did that.
Hopefully, it won’t come to pass. Jean’s candidacy might not even be recognised, thanks to the small matter of his not actually having lived in Haiti for the past thirty years.
You wonder, too, if “Haiti’s most famous son” is quite as popular in his birth country as he thinks he is. One imagines pop music isn’t exactly high on their agenda right now. The residents of Port-au-Prince have probably not boogied to ‘Hips Don’t Lie’ lately.
So please, “Clef”, show some respect for Haitians and leave the governance of their country to someone who actually knows what he/she is doing. Then get back to doing the things you are good at. You can start by reforming the Fugees.