Meridian is following the candidacy of LDS father and husband, Yeah Samake, as he runs for President of Mali. Yeah Samake is a BYU graduate, former Utah resident, and Mali citizen.
The country of Mali is considered one of the poorest countries in the world. In addition to it's high rate of poverty, it is plagued with corruption. As Mayor of his village of Ouelessebougou, and Vice President of the Mali League of Mayors, Yeah is renowned for his policies which stamp out corruption and install governmental transparency.
Read more stories on Meridian about Yeah Samake:
On January 26th, 2012, the Samaké brothers received some distressing news. Their usually healthy mid-40’s brother Moussa Samaké who was serving with the Mali troop in the UN Peacekeeping force in Haiti suffered a major stroke and passed away. His death left behind his sweet wife Mama with 6 kids: Fatima, Kadi (17), Djeneba (15), Dja (13), Momedy (6) and Papus (1). It also left his 17 brothers and sisters, their families and 2 mothers devastated.
Moussa was a good man. He was probably Yeah’s biggest cheerleader and was more of a mother to him than a brother. Moussa was the second child born to Yeah’s mom Sanamba Samaké. He was the backbone of the Samaké family. Very early on he joined the Mali army to serve his country. He was very well respected among his peers and very well known among the armed forces in Mali. He will be missed greatly by Yeah and many others.
There have been many good developments in Yeah’s campaign lately, including the arrival of two American interns, Liz and Kyle, from the Hinckley Institute at the University of Utah. The first event that our new American interns got to see was a PACP (Yeah’s party) committee meeting to inaugurate the set up of a new PACP committee in Dialakoroba. The start of the meeting was highlighted by a momentary pause in honor of Yeah’s brother Moussa Samake that had passed away. After this, Secretary General Fomba greeted the supporters and focused on the youth of the town. About 100 community leaders were present. The youth have issued a strong statement of support of PACP, and have abandoned their own party, PDES, to join PACP. PDES is the party that supported the current President Amadou Toumani Toure. .
Then Kane, another party member, showed the new logo of PACP and explained what it stood for so that people could easily recognize it at the polling stations. In Mali, with the illiteracy rate so high, it is essential for people to see the logo so that they can recognize it easily. The new logo is of a sunrise and is symbolic in its representation of a new day in Mali (Un Nouveau Jour Pour Mali).
The next meeting in the afternoon was held in Badalabougou in midtown Bamako. Here about 60 community leaders over the handicap society gathered to hear PACP speak. Life in Mali is tough already for those who can barely find work and provide for their families. Imagine how much harder it is for people that are handicapped and cannot contribute to the income of their families. When you drive the dangerous streets of Bamako, the view of handicapped individuals led by their relatives begging from car to car is hard to bear. In America, it is amazing how we care for our handicapped. We have facilities and groups that provide in majority for their needs so that their suffering and shame is lessened. It will be essential for the next President to institute a facility and programs that answer to the needs of these individuals. There were many questions of what these programs would be and Fomba promised that these questions would be presented to Yeah so that he could address them with the importance they deserved.
The day of meetings was successful. It is meetings like these that will get the vote in. The people of Mali need a leader that can lead them out of the lifestyles that they are resigned to and show them a lifestyle they deserve and should be living 52 years after independence. There will be many more meetings like these accompanied by music, dancing and the hope of a brighter future under Yeah Samake.
You can follow the campaign trail through the eyes of Yeah Samake’s wife, Marissa Coutinho Samake, at First Lady Mali 2012.
Marissa Samake is Bahraini born and educated, Indian raised, and married to a Malian for the last 7 years. She received an Information Systems BA in the U.S. and has been blessed with two inquisitive children. She and her family have returned to Mali so that her husband, Yeah Samake, can run for President. The elections are to be held in February 2012 and then a final runoff is to be held in April. He hopes to provide his country with quality education, healthcare and to also decentralize the government’s power back to local leaders. The hope is to lift Malians out of the corruption that has made their country the third poorest country in the world.