Under Islam, wife beating is condoned and encouraged. Maybe he's just religious. Obama say, "respect it!"
Is Obama's brother a wife beater? President's sibling is accused of
attacking two of his TWELVE wives and seducing a schoolgirl. Now he's
using his White House links to launch his
- President Obama's half-brother accused of being wife beater
- Roy Abong'o Malik Obama standing for election in Kenya
- Dismisses wife-beating allegations as being ‘a matter of interpretation’
On the broiling shores of Lake
Victoria, a man in Islamic garb is making a politician’s sales pitch to a
group of baffled villagers and the resident witch doctor — a wild-eyed
character with green and pink parrot feathers in his hair. He is
pontificating on an oddly familiar theme: a time for change.
the man on the election stump in this remote part of Africa perhaps has
more right than most to appropriate the message that helped Barack
Obama become America’s first black president. For the tall, paunchy
figure trying to win over the villagers is 55-year-old Roy Abong’o Malik
Obama, half-brother of the U.S. President and now following his famous
sibling into politics.
Kenya goes to the polls to choose a president, members of parliament
and senators, county governors and members of the newly-formed county
assembly. Malik is standing for the position of governor of Siaya
County, a role which would see him leading nearly a million people.
Average earnings here are 100 Kenyan Shillings (about 80p) a day.
that hardship looms for their putative new leader. If he wins, the
newest Obama on the political block will hit the jackpot — earning an
annual salary of more than £100,000, which would take an average Kenyan
66 years to earn, and is the equivalent of £3 million in Britain, as
well as perks which include a ‘retirement bonus’ of £75,000, a car,
driver, VIP travel and bodyguard for life.
is not the first time I have observed one of President Obama’s brothers
at close quarters. Last year, I reported in the Mail how George Obama,
30 — born to the fourth wife of the President’s father — also hoped to
stand for political leadership in Kenya. I tracked him down to a shack
in a Nairobi slum, where he spends his days drinking moonshine and
boasting about his Oval Office connection.
George, Malik is not shy about trading on the family name. Glistening
with sweat, a white Arabic skull-cap on his head, he was to be found at
the weekend standing on the back of a pick-up truck exhorting people to:
‘Vote Obama — vote for change.’
As he addresses crowds, his followers
hand out leaflets featuring photos of him sitting in the White House
with his half-brother.
Obama has international connections which can attract investment to
build factories and manufacturing industries,’ trumpets the text. ‘Malik
Obama is a new leader who will bring new direction to our county.’
leaflets add that charity does not alleviate poverty — it can only be
halted by ‘empowering poor, youth and women by tapping their potential’.
Election: Malik Obama, the half-brother of
United States President Barack Obama is standing for the position of
governor of Siaya County
is only one problem with these promises: they do not, as I discovered
this week, appear to have much substance. Certainly any ‘tapping of
potential’ appears to consist of Malik chasing, marrying and divorcing
young local women.
female members of his extended family accuse him of being a wife-beater
and philanderer, who seduced the newest of his estimated 12 wives while
she was a 17-year-old schoolgirl — a crime in a country where the legal
age of onsent is 18.
the dismay of teachers and the girl’s mother, Mary, Obama had secret
trysts with the girl after spotting her attending prayers at the mosque
he has built in Kogelo — he and his brother’s ancestral home — as part
of his promotion of the Islamic faith across the country.
in hiding at her mother’s mud house, down a rutted track, Sheila
Anyango, 35 years younger than her husband, told me this week that
marrying him was the ‘worst decision’ of her life — and confirmed that
they had ‘kept a secret’ since she was 17.
Accused: Malik Obama is accused of being a wife
beater and seducing the newest of his estimated 12 wives while she was a
Shy and softly-spoken, Sheila, 20,
says: ‘At first he was good, after he started speaking to me at the
mosque. But he has changed. Marrying him has been the biggest mistake of
my life. He beats me, but mostly he’s just nasty and quarrelsome.’
36, whose husband died from malaria soon after she gave birth to
Sheila, can barely contain her fury. ‘He abuses my daughter,’ she tells
me. ‘He is a bad old man. She was a child at school. There was no
negotiation with me.
made a secret plan to take her away and gave her 3,000 shillings [about
£24] to get her to marry him. She’s a young girl — she was confused. I
just don’t like that man.’
who has an 18-month-old daughter by Obama called Hafifa, had spent the
past two years living with three of Malik’s other wives at the ‘Barack H
Obama Foundation rest and relaxation centre’ — a restaurant complex
built by her husband to profit from the visitors attracted to the area
by his links to his brother.
Nor is Sheila the only one of Malik’s wives to accuse him of beating her.
Abwanda, now 33, also married the politician as a teenager, but
escaped in 2008 after five years of marriage, saying he beat her and her
‘co-wives’, of whom she says she saw at least 12 come and go over the
fled her miserable marriage to live with relatives, she had a son with
Malik, who she took with her when she left. ‘He is a bad man and I don’t
want to ever see him again,’ she says.
Islam allowing only four wives, former wives and friends say Malik
flouts this rule by ‘rotating’ his spouses out to other properties so he
lives with only the maximum number at any one time.
Fabulously rich by Kenyan standards, Malik is nevertheless careful with his money.
‘He is a jealous and selfish man. He’s a rich man, but he’s mean with money and time. He won’t
even give you a lift and just drives past alone when you wave'
– Respected elder Vitalis Akeche Ogombe
He pays his staff at the Obama
Foundation less than £5 a week — without breakfast, lunch or dinner —
and his workers spoke openly about their dislike for their boss with the
doesn’t give a damn about other people,’ one of his employees told me.
‘We all have wives and children and he doesn’t pay us enough to feed
them. But he’s happy to give young women money to come and live with him
Vitalis Akeche Ogombe, 63, one of the most respected elders in Kogelo,
tells me Malik seethes with resentment that Barack, rather than he, is a
is a jealous and selfish man,’ says Mr Ogombe. ‘He’s a rich man, but
he’s mean with money and time. He won’t even give you a lift and just
drives past alone when you wave. He thinks all the glory should be his.
He wants to be a parallel force to Barack. I don’t like him.’
former headmaster at the local school in Kogelo, Mr Ogombe knew Malik
as a boy, and met Barack on his first visit to his homeland in 1987,
when the future U.S. President spent his days in a simple room at his
family home, and developed a taste for local home-brewed beers.
was a nice boy,’ he says. ‘He wasn’t used to the heat here, so he spent
a lot of time inside resting, but he loved our beers and was very
friendly to everyone. Malik and he got along well — but that was when
both were nobodies.’
who is Roy Abong’o Malik Obama? He is the first son of Barack Obama
senior. Aged 18, his father married Kezia, a local woman, in a tribal
ceremony in Kogelo. She gave birth to Roy ‘Malik’ in 1958, and his
sister Auma two years later.
Obama Snr, a brilliant student, left her and her young children to take
up a scholarship at the University of Hawaii. There, he had an affair
with, and later married, Ann Dunham, an anthropologist from Kansas.
gave birth to Barack Hussein junior, before the Kenyan dumped her,
taking two more wives and having four more children — that are known
There were other
women. But the future President Obama’s father slid into alcoholism and
died in a car crash in Kenya aged 46. Barack is said to have struggled
to come to terms with the fact his eight siblings have four different
Once a drug
user and heavy drinker like his father before him, Malik gave up
alcohol, tobacco and marijuana when his younger half-brother David was
killed in a motorcycle accident after a night out together in Kenya in
Family: President Obama was said to have got on well with Malik Obama when he visited Kenya in 1987
He took a degree in accounting in
Nairobi, studied at a madrassa — an Islamic school where students
memorise the Koran — and became a committed Muslim. He moved to
Washington DC in the Eighties and opened an electronics shop there,
though he now divides his time between Kenya and America.
is also a regular traveller to Saudi Arabia, where he has taken part in
pilgrimages to Mecca. He now spends his time fund-raising for the
Barack H Obama Foundation, a body he set up to capitalise on his
brother’s election for the ‘good of Kogelo’.
there have been questions about where the money has gone from his
‘charity work’, with a probe launched over cash owed to the U.S.
taxpayer from his fund-raising activities. Famously, Malik’s conversion
to Islam has been saluted by Barack, whose remaining family in Kogelo
are all Muslims.
asked Malik to be best man at his 1992 wedding to Michelle. In his book
Dreams From My Father, the American President wrote: ‘The person who
made me proudest was Roy [Malik]. He converted to Islam, and has sworn
off pork and tobacco and alcohol.
new lifestyle has left him lean and clear-eyed, and at the wedding, he
looked so dignified in his black African gown with white trim and
matching cap, that some of our guests mistook him for my father.’
he had not always been so warm to his Kenyan half-brother. Indeed, when
Barack gave him a gift of a tape recorder during his first visit to
Africa in 1987, Malik expressed his disappointment that ‘it wasn’t a
‘I nodded at
him, trying not to get angry,’ Barack Obama wrote, noting that there
was: ‘Something [about him] that reminded me of young men back in
Chicago. An element of guardedness, perhaps, and calculation.’
Connections: Malik Obama is thought to be able to bring benefits to the area, because of his ties to the US President
For all that, in his bid to win
political power Malik is certainly happy to highlight his relationship
with his illustrious sibling.
his card and a bundle of leaflets, Professor Michael Muiga, a political
strategist from Florida who had worked for the Democrats, told me he
had ‘been ordered by Michelle’ Obama to come to Kenya and help him win.
‘He is the brother of the U.S. President,’ said Professor Muiga. ‘He can bring huge benefits to the area.’
for Malik, he dismisses the wife-beating allegations as being ‘a matter
of interpretation’, while his campaign strategist denies that he wants
to introduce Sharia law to the area, banning alcohol and ordering women
But when the candidate granted me a brief audience, he would not discuss policies in detail.
am an international figure, with traditional flair,’ he said grandly in
his air-conditioned office at the Obama restaurant in Kogelo, where he
keeps a private room of photographs of himself and Barack.
there are also pictures of him with Libyan dictator Muammar Gaddafi and
his feared intelligence chief — now awaiting trial for mass murder — at
the despot’s bunker in Tripoli.
am tired now,’ he says, waving me out of his office. ‘I have just come
back from India where I met spiritual leaders. I must rest now.’
I paid nothing to speak to him, there have been reports that he asked a
journalist for $1,000 in exchange for an interview.
what are his chances of winning? It’s hard to judge, though the Kogelo
headman says he won’t vote for him. Nor will staff at the Barack Obama
Foundation, or the family of his latest runaway bride.
I vote for Malik?’ Sheila, the young mother of his youngest child, asks
me incredulously. ‘I wish I could never hear his name again.’
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