BREAKING NEWS: Wyclef Appeals Haitian Election Commission Decision

BREAKING NEWS: Wyclef Appeals Haitian Election Commission Decision

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Wyclef’s Jean’s seemingly quixotic quest for President of Haiti took a bad turn last week when Haiti’s Interim Electoral Commission (CEP) rejected his bid.  Since the former Fugees’ band member and subsequent solo hip-hop celebrity launched his campaign (outlining reasons in an open August 5th Huffington Post letter), a mountain of controversy swirled about Haiti’s “roving ambassador.”  He’s been fending off charges of financial malfeasance at his highly visible non-governmental relief organization Yele’ Haiti while managing speculation over his motives.

Now, political tensions in the earthquake-devastated Caribbean island are boiling over the Haitian electoral commission’s decision.  According to the CEP, Jean could not prove that he lived in the country for five consecutive years, a requirement under Haitian law.

Still, Jean’s lawyers argue that he does meet the requirements, especially as Haiti’s “roving ambassador” since 2007 – even though he’s lived in the United States since the age of 9.

Wall Street Journal’s Nicolas Casey reports United Nation’s peacekeepers are mobilizing in anticipation of unrest over the decision:

Over the weekend, United Nations peacekeepers mobilized in Port-au-Prince in anticipation of unrest related to the announcement. “We are aware that the release of the list of prospective candidates could cause rallies or [a] mass movement,” said Jean-François Vezina, a spokesman for the United Nations police.

Despite the tension and initial acceptance of the decision on his blog, “Wyclef” – as he’s popularly known – is pushing his candidacy forward in defiance of the CEP.  On his Twitter site, Jean writes:

Tomorrow our Lawyers are appealing the decision of the CEP.  We have met all the requirements set by the laws. And the law must be Respected.

Jean elaborates further on his appeal in a recent interview with the Associated Press, claiming that the CEP decision was based on “politics” and not the rule of law.

I think he probably felt that the Commission’s decision wasn’t legally sound,” Garry Pierre-Pierre, Editor of The Haitian Times, tells Politic365.com. “He looked at the other candidates and realized they were plagued by similar residency issues, yet they remain on the ballot.

Pierre-Pierre, host of CUNY-TV’s Independent Times, contends that if Jean’s appeal is successful and he is back on the ballot “he will become the next President of Haiti.

Wyclef is very popular among Haitians – they don’t care about the residency issue.  His common man approach appeals to them.  However, there is a certain class of Haitians attempting to paint him as a messenger of foreign interests.  The elite political class views him as an interloper getting in the way.

7 COMMENTS

  1. Friday evening I was at my parents listening to an online Haitian radio station and by 7pm they still hadn't announce the list of potential candidates. Soldier on the streets had blocked the Fas-a-Fas protesters from even going near where the CEP and reporters had gathered for hours awaiting publishment of the list. I knew then that Wyclef would not be included on the list, because every step they had taken thus far seemed to be basic riot prevention. Saturday our family got together to discuss what had happened and exchange what those back home have been saying:

    -Wyclef DOES meet the residency requirements as a ROVING Ambassador.

    -Haitian political system is treatened by the POTENTIALITY of CONCREET CHANGE; "we" prefer the same old…and those in power aren't trying to give that up.

    -Wyclef started with drastic proposals: Allow duel-citizenship, establish FREE education, and what not.

    There is SO much that this man has planned which can MODERNIZE Haiti and he is of these modern-times. Haiti is not going to want to see this shift in policy and way of life. Those in power don't want an equal footing for all Haitians, it would mean that the Mulatto/White would no longer have the control they have over the populous. I mean imagine using Creole instead of French for formal affairs…it is an affront to their very sensibilities! And Wyclef could mandate these changes if he were in power. They simply won't allow it.”

    • Residency in a country you plan to lead is a small thing to ask. How is one suppose to understand the day-to-day problems, challenges, opportunities faced by a population? By reading about them or hearing about them on the 11 o'clock news? Is the plan to lead the country at a distance, not setting foot in it? Moving there once one is elected? Living with the people, understanding their situations for a minimum of 5 years is the least one can start doing for the country. International popularity cannot be a criteria.

  2. Wyclef pa pale kreyòl byen,epi li pa pale franse menm. Kouman l ap gouvènne? Ann angle? Fòk Wyclef respekte Manman Lwa peyi a. Li pa fè 5an nan peyi avan eleksyon. Pwen ba. Pou afè politik, msye pa konnen anpil nan sa. Edikasyon gratis deja, menm si "gratis" koute chè. Doub Sitwayenite, se kite djaspora jere peyi a. Moun Ayiti konnen "djaspora" pa konn reyalite peyi a. Pèp ayisyen pa fè yo konfyans. Wyclef needs to pay attention to what wiser people say, so he doesn't become a "wise guy". Let him stick to philanthropic work, which he can do well with.

    • pou ki sa-w pa poze kandida-w tou. wap kritike Wyclef mim youn bon plan preval ou bien lot kandida yo pa gen yen pou Aiti po rouge ak san mele yo ap peye sa che si yo pa rale ko you de ye boldoze ya ap pase sou you.

  3. Regarding WyClef's presidential bid:

    The whole election process is irregular to begin with so I'm not surprised that WyClef and his lawyers have gone back in a matter of three days from the statement that WyClef would cooperate with the decision made by the Provisional Electoral Council. The election is illegitimate, not only because Haiti's largest political party Fanmi Lavalas has been barred from running, but because elections under occupation are illegitimate. Although, if Haitians do decide to go out and vote in large numbers, they will get our support.

    In my opinion, WyClef is making a laughingstock of himself by pursuing the Haitian presidency. He's not qualified to run, not only because he does not meet the constitutional requirements, but he does not have the political skills or savvy. The private sector in Haiti will make mincemeat out of him, not to mention the multinational interests that occupy and run Haiti through the pulling of purse strings and the muscle of MINUSTAH's occupying force. Even if he were to be allowed to run, WyClef's political constituency is tenuous at best. He has not built a base or electorate. He's a musician. While people are fans and admire his work, that does not necessarily translate into voting for him to be president of Haiti.

    WyClef has not even outlined a comprehensive political platform, except for the declaration that "Haiti is open for business." With WyClef at the helm, Haiti will be open to more exploitation and continued apartheid of the super-rich and ultra-poor. The apartheid class system in Haiti needs to be addressed and acknowledged by Haiti's next leader. Also, WyClef has not addressed the need to break the NGO stranglehold on Haiti. The majority Haitian populace needs someone in the Presidency who will champion human development (education, social services and infrastructure), above sustaining foreign and private business interests in Haiti which exploit cheap labor, and does not support the local economy.

    While all of the distraction over the candidacy of WyClef is going on forced evictions continue in the IDP camps… and Haitians are tired of sleeping on garbage (http://bit.ly/awskOA). People are living in the streets and no homes are being built, but already they've announced plans to build a new textiles factory (http://bit.ly/bW8lgQ). Sweatshops should not take presidency over people's health and well-being.

    Hope that Haitian voices are heard. More media attention needs to be on the desperate humanitarian situation on the ground in Haiti and not the distraction of WyClef Jean's failed presidential bid and the issuing circus.

    As an aside, Garry Pierre-Pierre and his right-wing Haitian Times newspaper supported the coup against Haiti's democratically elected government (Jean-Bertrand Aristide) and so did WyClef Jean.

  4. zen haitian, have you ever read the Haitian Times, we’re hardly right wing. So if you don’t support Aristide, that makes one right wing. let’s elevate this conversation a bit.

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