President Barack Obama's half-brother, George Obama, held on marijuana possession in Kenya
BY DAVID SALTONSTALL
DAILY NEWS SENIOR CORRESPONDENT
Saturday, January 31st 2009, 12:25 PM
The half-brother of President Obama was busted for alleged possession of marijuana Saturday near his home in a Nairobi shantytown, Kenyan police officials said.
George Obama, who is in his 20s and barely knows the president, had one joint of marijuana on him, said Joshua Omokulongolo, the police chief in the area.
"He is not a drug peddler," Omokulongolo told The Associated Press. "But it's illegal, it's a banned substance."
Speaking from behind bars, Obama denied the allegations.
"They took me from my home," he told CNN, "I don't know why they are charging me."
George Obama and the president share the same father, who died in a car crash in 1982 when George was just six months old. The president has met his younger half-brother during trips to Kenya to track his family roots but the two are not close.
Several of President Obama's Kenyan relatives went to Washington, D.C., for his inauguration, but George was not among them. He lives in Huruma, a section of Nairobi, where he has said he is studying to be mechanic.
Despite their tenuous relationship, George Obama is likely to take his place now in the pantheon of troublesome presidential siblings and in-laws, an elite club with no shortage of members.
There was Billy Carter, the brother of President Jimmy Carter, who in the 1970's used his image as a Southern good ol' boy to endorse his own brand of beer, Billy Beer.
More recently, Hugh Rodham, the brother of former First Lady Hillary Clinton, got in a jam when it was discovered that he collected $400,000 in return for scoring a commutation from President Clinton for a convicted drug trafficker. He later returned the money.
In his memoir, "Dreams from My Father," Barack Obama describes meeting George and other family members he never knew as a child as a "painful affair."
Media reports about George Obama first surfaced over the summer, after an article in Italian Vanity Fair said he lived in a shack and earned a dollar a day. George Obama has called the reports insulting.
"I'm proud of how I live," he said later. "(The media) are tarnishing the family name."