George Obama, half-brother of President Barack Obama, was arrested and jailed for possession of one joint in Nairobi, Kenya, Jan. 31. “They took me from my home,” he said, denying the charge against him. “I don’t know why they are charging me.” Obama was charged with possession of marijuana and resisting arrest. He is currently at Huruma police station awaiting a court hearing.
George Obama lives in Huruma, a poor district of Kenya’s capitol. Their father, Barack Obama Sr., died in a car accident six months after George was born in 1982. George’s mother is Jael Otieno. George barely knows Barack and did not attend the inauguration. Obama has called meeting George a “painful affair.” It has been reported that George makes one dollar a day.
“I was brought up well,” he’s told CNN, making light of his life circumstances. “I live well even now. The magazines have exaggerated everything. I kind of like it here. There are some challenges, but maybe it is just like where you come from, there are the same challenges.” President Obama has yet to comment on his brother’s arrest. (CelebStoner, Jan. 31)
Known variously as kaya, iley, calley, and bhang, marijuana is widely used in Kenya—despite its highly illegal status. Kenya has some of the world’s harshest marijuana laws. Under a 1990s revision of the legal code, possession of any quantity can carry a life sentence, and those accused are denied bail. The only other crime for which this is the case is murder. (East African Standard, Nairobi, Nov. 4, 2002, archived at Media Awareness Project)
See our last post on the global regime of floraphobia.
Charges dropped against George Obama
From CNN, Feb. 2: