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. aware

    Barack and George both come from a dysfunctional family! But a white grandmother rescued BO. Obama did not do the same for his half brother.

    So how do you think he will rescue the USA? Forget it! 🙁

    January 31, 2009 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  2. seattle

    why is obama not helping his half brother? or not even make a comment about him.... may be because he didnt grow with him Geroge is not his real brother i guse.
    obama/that one 2012!!!

    January 31, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. German,Irish American

    Gee, he is just like big brother Barry at that age, a drug addict. Move along sheeple, nothing to see here, just another Obama relative caught in an illegal activity. "CHANGE"

    January 31, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  4. Change in American

    Who cares that sad how they going after Obama family.....Ok if he smoke marijauna half of American population smoke marijauna

    January 31, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  5. Eric

    Just wondering if the folks that got their rocks off making fun of Rush Limbaugh's drug issues are going to call this 'no big deal...

    January 31, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  6. richard

    well then CNN let's start talking about sarah palin's daughter's baby daddy momma...

    January 31, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  7. shoegazer

    Kind of looks like he already smoked some of the"devil-weed" he had in his possession.

    January 31, 2009 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  8. joe

    They are trying to bring Obama down.......

    Campaign is over and it is time to support our President, CNN!

    January 31, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  9. Ben

    Let's see if it will stick......Ohh well, this is Kenya News, not American News...How sad!!

    January 31, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  10. chris ludlow

    so. what if it was Bush? answer honestly LIBERAL HATERS OF 2000 AND BEYOND

    January 31, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  11. Andrew Srinarayan

    CNN – you disappoint readers with these type of frivolous headlines ... who is the editor who thought this is a great headline ... please show some journalistic stature ...

    January 31, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  12. Mika

    GOP witch hunting Obama, again?

    No suprise here. Our media has been controlled you can not tell truth anymore. No wonder Palin is always in the news after the election.....

    Now lets see if this stuff will hurt Obama and his name, guess not!

    January 31, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. chris ludlow

    OH..and angie from PA. i can smell your hypycritical stench coming from miles away

    January 31, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. Melissa from New Orleans

    And I should care, why exactly?

    January 31, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  15. Benson

    As a Kenyan living in America, I am not defending George or Obama for that Matter but,

    Obama's Dad died in 1982. So, given that George is 20+ years doesnt' hold water. If George is Obama's Brother then I expect his age to be around 30....

    2009-1982=27 so go figure CNN.........I don't think this kid fits to be Obama's brother.......I call this story suspecious in my eyes....

    January 31, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  16. John, FL

    I heard some guy got caught shop lifting in Oklahoma last week. Where's the Ticker post on that?

    January 31, 2009 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
  17. Dawn

    This is not relative about his half bro, that he only met twice. I know we have bad seeds in our families. You know that is on the Country of Africa(Psst, I know it is not a Country) Kenya is another hot spot for terrorist, lets put it this way, can you tell me how many Countries in Africa is being ruled by somesort of Dictator?

    January 31, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  18. Mike Dallas

    We know Levi's mom doesdrugs(crystal meth), now we know that Obama's half-brother smokes pot.

    I would hazard a guess that 75% of us baby boomers would fall under one or both of these "news" ticker headings at one point in our lives as well.

    Must have been a slow news day then and now.

    January 31, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  19. chris

    Apperently drug problems run in the family, Barack and his crack smoking and his brother with a little weed.

    January 31, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  20. hazel

    If this is relevent why is a story of his other step-brother who i believe is ia musician and is in China at the moment giving charity concerts.

    January 31, 2009 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  21. steve

    This picture was taken after he smoked the joint. Look at his eyes...

    January 31, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  22. Whatever...

    This is gutter journalism. President Obama barely knew his father and definitely didn't know this half brother that is twenty five years younger than him. Why is this posted TWICE on cnn.com? Man, you guys do anything for ratings.

    January 31, 2009 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  23. Chike

    For those of you new to African police tactics... To be caught with marajuana and charged with resisting arrest is traditional police extortion method. Now George's half-brother Barrack is famous Kenyan police figure they could easily extort money from him. African police men walk around with raps of Marajuana and handguns sorely for the purpose of framing innocent people and extorting money from them. This guy was never a traget until his half-brother became the president.

    January 31, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  24. chris

    Not nearly as bad as coke. Could you imagine how Obama's life would be had he got caught when he was younger? Wouldn't had gone to Harvard with a criminal record. Life isn't fair.

    January 31, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  25. Jan NY

    Jan NY January 31st, 2009 11:08 am ET
    Your comment is awaiting moderation** CNN PLZ POST**
    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 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
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