AS a tall, strangely familiar figure leaves his one-room shack in a notorious African slum this week, a few people jokingly call out to him: ‘Mister President! Mister President!’
Heading for breakfast through his junk-strewn yard, stepping over streams of sewage, the appearance of this slim, angular man prompts giggles and pointing from children in rags playing in the muck. The man’s name is George Hussein Obama and his half-brother is Barack Hussein Obama , Kenya’s most famous son, the first black President of the US and the most powerful man in the world. The two men may share the same father, but while Barack Obama was born in Hawaii to his father’s American second wife, George - born in Kenya - was the product of Obama Senior’s fourth marriage. Today, while Barack entertains at the White House, flies aboard Air Force One and is a friend of film stars and royalty, George, 30, is to be found slumped in his corrugated iron shack which even fellow slum-dwellers regard as a hovel. Details of his unorthodox lifestyle emerged with news that he has agreed to appear in a documentary film being made by one of Barack Obama’s most trenchant critics. Called 2016, and directed by the production team behind Schindler’s List, the film sets out the supposed horrors of another four years of Obama in office - though George does not criticise the President on screen. It is the idea of US author Dinesh D’Souza, whose book The Roots Of Obama’s Rage paints a deeply unflattering portrait of the ‘narcissistic’ President. George has also written a memoir, called Homeland. Published in 2012, it details how he turned his back on a middle-class Kenyan upbringing to live among the desperately poor in Nairobi’s infamous slums. The book’s precis tell us: ‘George chooses to live in the Nairobi ghetto, where he works to help the ghetto-dwellers, and especially the slum kids, overcome the challenges surrounding their lives.’ And the book quotes George thus: ‘My brother has risen to be the leader of the most powerful country in the world. Here in Kenya, my aim is to be a leader among the poorest people on Earth: those who live in the slums.’ In what sounds like the script for a Hollywood film, he claims to have been the driving force behind the transformation of a slum football team into one of the top sides in Kenya, known as ‘Obama’s champs’.          –DM