As reported Friday (August 20), musician Wyclef Jean’s quest for the Haitian presidential seat was in question … and later that same day, the list of qualified candidates came in and he didn’t make the cut.
While what stipulations Jean didn’t qualify are not known, its assumed that it was because of residency requirements — a candidate must have lived in the country for five consecutive years leading up to the election.
Following the news of his disqualification, Jean posted this open letter at the Huffington Post:
It is with a heavy heart that I tell you today that the board of elections in Haiti has disqualified me from my run for the presidency of the country. Though I disagree with the ruling, I respectfully accept the committee’s final decision, and I urge my supporters to do the same. We must all honor the memories of those we’ve lost — whether in the earthquake, or at anytime — by responding peacefully and responsibly to this disappointment.
I was inspired to run for president because I know Haiti can become great with the right leadership, and I believe I could be that leader; but, ultimately, we must respect the rule of law in order for our island to become the great nation we all aspire for it to be.
I want to assure my countrymen that I will continue to work for Haiti’s renewal; though the board has determined that I am not a resident of Haiti, home is where the heart is — and my heart has and will always be in Haiti. This ruling just tells me that I can’t officially seek the office of president. More importantly, there is no one who can tell me to stop my work in Haiti, and there is no one who could. I think of my daughter, Angelina, and it makes me want to redouble my efforts to help give all the children in Haiti better days.
I also want to honor the memory of my father, a minister; I know that he would tell me that even though I’ve faced a setback, I must continue in all my good-faith efforts to help Haiti turn a corner to a better and brighter future. Do not think that my role in the future of Haiti is over; it’s just a different role than I had anticipated it to be.
Rest assured, this isn’t the end of my efforts to help improve my beloved country but only marks a new beginning.
Despite his words, in which he says he will respect the committee’s ruling, Jean tells the Associated Press that he’s not giving up on a bid to become the country’s next president.
According to the AP, Jean said his lawyers will file an appeal with the national electoral dispute office.
He says that he has a document “which shows everything is correct” and that he and his aides “feel that what is going on here has everything to do with Haitian politics.”
“They are trying to keep us out of the race,” he said, referring to Haiti’s political establishment.