THE WORLDPOST
08/09/2010 06:17 pm ET Updated May 25, 2011

Wyclef Jean Defends Presidential Bid: Number 1 Qualification Is 'I Am Not A Haitian Politician'

Wyclef Jean is continuing to push back against criticism of his bid to become Haiti's president and allegations that he mismanaged post-quake charity funds, telling NPR in an interview that "the idea of Wyclef being corrupted is a no."

Since announcing his candidacy last week, Jean's decision has been criticized by the likes of actor Sean Penn, who accused the musician of being out of touch with what's going in the country. "I'm very suspicious of it, simply because he, as an ambassador at large, has been virtually silent," Penn said.

Former Fugee Pras also cast doubt on Jean's presidential bid and said he would be supporting his opponent Michel "Sweet Micky" Martelly because he was better prepared to govern Haiti.

Jean responded to both criticisms in the interview, pointing out that he had been in Haiti for the 31 days after last January's devastating earthquake.

With regard to his qualifications to lead the country, Jean told NPR News that first and foremost, "I am not a Haitian politician." He added that, "I think you need a president that's global, that's going to be moving through the globe."

Writing on HuffPost last week, Jean explained at length the motivation behind his presidential run:

I've tried to do the right thing in every part of my life, but especially when it comes to family and to Haiti. Sometimes I've been successful; other times not so much. But for years, I have been trying to help Haiti grow and prosper, and now I think I have the biggest chance I will ever have to make a difference there. I feel my calling is to serve our country in whatever way the people will have me.

Subscribe to the World Post email.