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Meet the Mormon presidential candidate in Mali who has a bold plan for combatting Islamic extremism

Published: Tuesday, Aug. 4 2015 8:23 a.m. MDT

Yeah Samake, a former BYU student and now mayor of Ouelessebougou in Mali, West Africa, is running for president of the country. (Robert Walton) Yeah Samake, a former BYU student and now mayor of Ouelessebougou in Mali, West Africa, is running for president of the country. (Robert Walton)

Our take: Yeah Samake, who was born and raised in Mali and received his master's degree at BYU, is one of the top candidates in the Mali presidential race. He talks about his plans for Mali and how he doesn't use his faith to progress his political career. However, to ensure that communication flows well and that accountability exists, Samake set up a system similar to that of elder's quorum.

Mali has been a hotbed of Islamic extremism of late, as al Qaeda operatives have taken the West African nation by storm. As the country deals with an influx of violence, a presidential election is slated for this year ó and thereís a fascinating candidate running for office. Yeah Samake, 42, a Mormon who was born and raised in Mali, is hoping to win the presidency and to save his homeland from the grips of extremism.

Samake is currently one of the top candidates in the race ó a democratic election that was pushed off last year after extremist activity caused delays. Receiving an education in the West, the candidate attended Brigham Young University and has a unique perspective about how to save his nation from the cusp of disaster.

Yeah Samake, a former BYU student and now mayor of Ouelessebougou in Mali, West Africa, is running for president of the country. (Robert Walton) Yeah Samake, a former BYU student and now mayor of Ouelessebougou in Mali, West Africa, is running for president of the country. (Robert Walton)

At a speech this week at Sand Creek Middle school in Ammon, Idaho, Samake told students about life in Mali and shared his personal story. One of 18 children, he lived in extreme poverty, however he credited his father with teaching him the importance of education. After receiving his bachelorís degree in Mali, he went on for a masterís at Brigham Young.

As far as governance goes, the candidate believes that true democracy is the key to Maliís success.

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