January 31st, 2009
10:04 AM ET
7 years ago

Obama's half brother arrested in Kenya

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/WORLD/africa/01/31/george.obama.arrest/art.obama.brother.cnn.jpg caption=" George Obama was arrested in Kenya on a charge for possession of marijuana, according to police."]NAIROBI, Kenya (CNN) - George Obama, the half brother of U.S. President Barack Obama, has been arrested by Kenyan police for possession of marijuana, police said Saturday.

Inspector Augustine Mutembei, the officer in charge, said Obama was arrested for possession of cannabis, known in Kenya as Bhang, and resisting arrest. He is scheduled to appear in court Monday, Mutembei said.

He is being held at Huruma police post in the capital of Nairobi.

CNN Correspondent David McKenzie talked with George Obama at the jail where he is being held. Speaking from behind bars, Obama denied the allegations.

"They took me from my home," he said, "I don't know why they are charging me."

George Obama and the president barely know each other, though they have met before. George Obama was one of the president's few close relatives who did not go to the inauguration in Washington last week.

In his memoir, "Dreams from My Father," Barack Obama describes meeting George as a "painful affair." Barack Obama's trip to Kenya meant meeting family he had never known.

McKenzie tracked down George Obama in August 2008 and found him at a small house in Huruma, a Nairobi slum, where he lives with his mother's extended family. His birth certificate shows he is Barack Obama's half brother.

The two men share the same Kenyan father.

In the memoir, Barack Obama struggles to reconcile with his father after he left him and his mother when he was just a child.

Like his half brother, George hardly knew his father. Barack Obama Sr. died in a car accident when George was just 6 months old.

George was his father's last child and had not been aware of his half brother's fame until he rose to prominence in the Democratic primaries last year.

Unlike his grandmother in Kogela, in western Kenya, George Obama had received little attention from the media until reports about him surfaced in August 2008.

The reports sprung from an Italian Vanity Fair article saying George Obama lived in a shack and was "earning less than a dollar a day."

The reports left George Obama angry.

"I was brought up well. I live well even now," he said. "The magazines, they have exaggerated everything.

"I think 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," Obama said.

Obama, who is in his mid-20s, said at the time that he was learning to become a mechanic and was active in youth groups in Huruma. He said he tried to help the community as much as he can.

- From CNN's David McKenzie

Filed under: Obama family
soundoff (138 Responses)
  1. Disgusted

    I guess this is news because???

    January 31, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  2. Terry

    Who cares!!!!

    January 31, 2009 10:12 am at 10:12 am |
  3. Senora Zamudio

    Oh c'mon! Why is this in the "Political Ticker?" This is nothing but gossip...CNN I think there are more meaningful stories to report on. And how is the relative to what's happening up on Capitol hill, or at the Whitehouse?

    January 31, 2009 10:18 am at 10:18 am |
  4. Angie in Pa

    Alright all you Haters lets start Blaming President Obama for this and 123!! Lets hear it

    January 31, 2009 10:31 am at 10:31 am |
  5. Jeff from Jersey

    I guess the budget will now have to include foriegn aid for rehabs in Kenya.Maybe George can write a book and get elected president of Kenya.

    January 31, 2009 10:33 am at 10:33 am |
  6. so?

    This is about as relevant as Sarah Palin's daughter's fiance's mother being arrested on drug charges.

    January 31, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  7. Poor George

    I guess he won't be coming to the obama super bowl party at the White House.

    January 31, 2009 10:37 am at 10:37 am |
  8. Bhang oh

    So?Lets worry about real criminals like Henry Paulson,who just made off with billions of tax payers money and is probably sitting on a beach some where laughing his bleep off about how he pulled off the greatest robbery in human history.

    January 31, 2009 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  9. catmom

    And this is being reported why? Will the media report on anyone named Obama especially if it's negative? I'm sure Obama doesn't even know this person, half brother or not. It is completely irrelevant. Get a grip, PLEASE.

    January 31, 2009 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  10. Sue

    I guess if Plain's children are under scrutiny, then Obama's half-brother whom he met once, will be as well. After all, there are no positive stories out there on the economy, so let's pretend we care about a man in Africa who is perfectly happy and chose his own lot, just so someone can berate Barack about something.

    January 31, 2009 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  11. Rosa

    Don't you have anything else to do but go into a story to disgrace the Obama family?
    Out of all the real stories in our country you waist your energy in finding out of someone related to the president who is using drugs?
    What a mediocre approach!
    Go and find yourself real stories in the streets OF USA and learn how to be a real reporter.
    Rosa O Orta

    January 31, 2009 10:45 am at 10:45 am |
  12. John

    This is the most irresponsible reporting ever. What does this have to do with anything? Certainly nothing to do President Obama or the welfare or security of US of A.

    January 31, 2009 10:46 am at 10:46 am |
  13. Come on!

    Come on....who cares? Pot should be legal, anyway. No one beats their wife when they're high. No one fights and commits suicide while smoking marijuana. Alochol is legal and pot isn't? Dumb.

    January 31, 2009 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  14. Claire White

    . . . and Peter Obama got a traffic ticket; and Donald Obama jay-walked; and Mary Obama owes taxes; and Peter Obama is a deadbeat dad. Is this news?

    January 31, 2009 10:50 am at 10:50 am |
  15. catmom

    CNN, rather than paying a reporter to report on this, could you send me the money you will pay for this story. This is ridiculous listening to the story on your broadcast that has absolutely nothing to do with the President but is being reported as if it 1) Is a close brother 2)happened in this country 3)is some how relevant to anything.

    January 31, 2009 10:51 am at 10:51 am |
  16. bea

    with the corruption in Kenya ,there has to be more to this story......i am Kenyan and I know....

    January 31, 2009 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  17. Larry

    He ain't heavy,he's your brother-Barack you need to go spend some quality time with your brother,he needs you,he has a drug problem.Stay with him ,he's your "blood"and a big part of your roots.He said he tried to help the community as much as he can,Barack with your neighborhood experience you could do a lot of good.

    January 31, 2009 10:53 am at 10:53 am |
  18. Griff

    Attention! There are so many more like him... They all need help!

    January 31, 2009 10:57 am at 10:57 am |
  19. Scott

    Well going by the qualifications of Obama's cabinet members, Geroge Obama should be highly quailfied to be the head of D.E.A.

    January 31, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  20. Gary

    You can file this in the same garbage can as the stories of the illegal aunt.
    At least he's no Billy Carter.

    January 31, 2009 10:58 am at 10:58 am |
  21. Puff

    So ur try to use this to distroy the President Obama's name???CNN u better then this anyway I m ready to vote for him in 2012. I will be at line before everybody.CAO!!!

    January 31, 2009 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  22. God Bless the U.S.A

    who knows, he could have been set-up.

    January 31, 2009 11:05 am at 11:05 am |
  23. williefloyd

    Not sure I see the importance of this to our citizens. Carter had his brother, Bush had his drinking twins, Clinton had his brother-what does that have to do with the sitting president??

    January 31, 2009 11:06 am at 11:06 am |
  24. teacher

    I suppose Rush Limbaugh will say this is a direct result of the country's stupidity in electing Barack Obama. I wonder if George Obama will come up with Georgie Weed to mimic Billy Beer.

    January 31, 2009 11:07 am at 11:07 am |
  25. Jan NY

    George Obama, the half brother of U.S. President Barack Obama, has been arrested by Kenyan police for possession of marijuana, police said Saturday........George said they barely know each other....Wonder if George was not President Obama half Brother would this be news
    Oh I forgot about The Bush Twins and the Drinking Problem !!!!!!

    January 31, 2009 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
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