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. DNC

    "Everybody wants to get stoned"

    January 31, 2009 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  2. southerncousin

    Let us see if this story gets as many crazy hate filled response from the whacko libs as the story about Palin's granson's name did. As I recall it was about 250.

    January 31, 2009 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  3. Bra Rick

    Are we runnuing out of newsworthy stories linked with the name Obama?

    How many americans do have marijuana in their homes, their cars, at the office etc...? Heck, some states are even having a run at legalizing it.

    Leave the poor guy alone. He doesn't even know why he was arrested.

    January 31, 2009 12:02 pm at 12:02 pm |
  4. Reuben

    Why is this on the political ticker? I mean aside from the fact that he's Obama's half brother what does this really have to do with American politics?

    January 31, 2009 12:04 pm at 12:04 pm |
  5. fearful for my country

    Poor guy. His brother smokes crack and becomes president of a nation. This guy will probably rot in prison unless Obama intervenes.

    January 31, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  6. libs be dopes

    Maybe Nobamo can bring him here and hire him as our new drug czar.

    He has experience!

    January 31, 2009 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  7. Anonymous

    who cares!!!! is this even news????

    January 31, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  8. Maggie SC

    It apears that when faced with the decision to be influenced by a dysfunctional fahter that Obama's mother choose the best way to raise her child. Obma's half brother did not fare so well. Instead of President Obama's mtoerh choosing to have an abortion because she was a single parent and would hve diffulty rainsisn a child she opted to choose life. Of course she may have had to face that decision but she could have been a statistic. she fit the category of woment choosing the easy way out. But then it is a matter of choice by the parent, choose life or death of fetus. What may the women choosing abortiohn have had should they had chosen life. Obama's mother choose life and gave birth to the first black Americna president, making history. Listen carefull expectant mothers before choosing abortion,. Do you want to take that chance. Today the tax payers take care of paying, pay abortion or pay by medicaid for children whose parents cannot afford them. The ultimate fact is either way the government pays especially not that the ban is being lifetd by Pre Obmama. We are killing of our future armies who will protect our freedon in 18- 20 years? Cannot undo the damage done.

    January 31, 2009 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  9. Eleanor

    this move is to simply cast bad light on President Obama.!!!
    If every person who smoked pot or had pot in their possesion were
    picked up and thrown in jail there would be NO more prison space period hehe!!!! Oh and by the way I am an older lady who has never smoked it in her life but quite aware that one of my children did at one time and also aware that many still do smoke and possess it in every country around the globe!!

    January 31, 2009 12:08 pm at 12:08 pm |
  10. Heath1

    There nothing to say, That a grown man.

    January 31, 2009 12:09 pm at 12:09 pm |
  11. mb

    The media should stop meddling in people's personal lifes. Wonder how many of them have relatives in jail.?

    January 31, 2009 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  12. mary

    What has this got to do with anything... are we going to print everyone who gets arrested on drug charges regardless of who they are throughout the world.......President Obama has no more to do with this situation than I do...

    January 31, 2009 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  13. Matthew

    Guess drug usage runs in the family...

    January 31, 2009 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  14. Texas Teacher

    Sadly, this young man may become a target simply because he is the half brother of President Obama. I can understand how the one wants to go on with his life, which he is satisfied with having not gone elsewhere. He most likely feels that he has a duty to do in his own world. And the other has a job to do that may well change the whole world. That does not mean that one is the keeper of the other. And any relationship in distant families is no ones business, but those involved. I simply hope that the world will allow both to live out their lives as they see fit.... not as the world would like!

    January 31, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  15. JF

    So now we're travelling half way 'round the world to dig-up dirt somehow connected (however remotely) to Barack Obama? Funny how this ridiculous brand of scrutiny never seemed to occur when REPUGS were in charge of things. Curious!

    January 31, 2009 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  16. (Former) Lifelong Republican for Obama, Columbia, TN

    Why is this news important or relevant?!

    January 31, 2009 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  17. Sorensen

    And so what?
    Leave it to People Magazine.

    January 31, 2009 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  18. WIlly Brown

    Maybe George will go live with #44.

    January 31, 2009 12:29 pm at 12:29 pm |
  19. Xavier

    Bush – alcoholic till age 40.

    Rush – Pill popping illegal pain killer junkie.

    Oreilly – Phone sex cravings. He paid a hefty sum for his kinky habits.

    Before you start getting all moralistic about Obama's brothers problems, take a good hard look at your own republican icons. Lets not forget the republican who got caught on audio soliciting sex at an airport restroom stall. Is he still in office? He is! Shame on you morally correct republicans.

    January 31, 2009 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  20. NEL E BELL


    January 31, 2009 12:36 pm at 12:36 pm |
  21. Joyce

    The only reason I care about this story at all is because any government filling its jails with young people because of a stupid marijuana joint is retarded. This nasty tasting/smelling stuff is as much of a powerful, "killer" drug as a couple of beers. Any government with a lick of sense would legalize it, tax it and limit it's use to 18 year-olds and older.

    It would remove the forbidden fruit factor and stop making criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens.

    Since I'm old I doubt that I will live to see the day when governments will begin to actually think.

    January 31, 2009 12:37 pm at 12:37 pm |
  22. Pinckney

    Ummm...I wonder if this will get the outrage from liberals that the Palin family got...I don't think so!

    January 31, 2009 12:44 pm at 12:44 pm |
  23. LF Oneto - VA

    I guess it´s President Obama´s fault. Who gives a sh.it what his half brother does or does not do in KENYA? Oh, I know: it will feed the hatred of those republicans who are looking for just about anything to tarnish the President´s image. What a sad state of affairs for the media.

    January 31, 2009 12:45 pm at 12:45 pm |
  24. AndreinFL

    I guess people get arrested in Kenya for this offense often. He has to watch what he do now, because it will be twisted and used against his half-brother as propaganda

    January 31, 2009 12:48 pm at 12:48 pm |
  25. Dumas McGee

    well we were all waiting for a Billy Carter or Neil Bush in this administration

    January 31, 2009 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
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