Wyclef Jean has confirmed that he is running to be the new president of Haiti.
The Fugees musician, who was born in Haiti and lived in the country until he was nine, said he decided to put himself forward for the position the morning after the devastating earthquake that struck the island on January 12.
Watch video footage of Jean announcing his decision to run on CNN by scrolling down and clicking below.
He said: “After January 12 – the day after coming and being out here with my wife and picking up dead bodies from the ground – I felt that because of the youth of Haiti and the population, this is not even Wyclef saying ‘I wanna be the president of Haiti’. I feel like I’ve been drafted by the population right now to give them a different voice.”
Speaking about what his intentions for the country are, should he be elected, Jean said: “The focus right now should definitely be education, job creation, agriculture, security and healthcare.”
Actor Sean Penn, who is helping to manage a 50,000-strong Haitian camp set up after the earthquake, questioned Jean‘s motives for running for president.
“What the Haitian people need now is a leader who is genuinely willing to sacrifice,” Penn said. “I haven’t seen or heard anything of him [Jean] in these last six months that I’ve been in Haiti. I think he’s an important voice. I hope he doesn’t sacrifice that voice by taking the eye off the very devastating realities on the ground.”
Penn also spoke of allegations that Jean had mishandled funds from his Yele Haiti charity.
“He claims he didn’t do it. That has to be looked into,” Penn said, adding: “I’ve been there. I know what $400,000 could do for these people’s lives.”
Jean has denied any financial wrongdoing, and an initial investigation into the allegations did not find any misconduct.
The Haitian election is set to take place on November 28.
Watch Jean officially announce his decision to run for president below.