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LDS Church member Yeah Samake continues to campaign as Mali presidential elections near

Published: Friday, July 19 2013 1:25 p.m. MDT

Yeah Samake, a former BYU student and now mayor of Ouelessebougou in Mali, West Africa,  is going to run for president of the country. Photo taken in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 6, 2011.   (Photo Courtesy of Robert Walton, All) Yeah Samake, a former BYU student and now mayor of Ouelessebougou in Mali, West Africa, is going to run for president of the country. Photo taken in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 6, 2011. (Photo Courtesy of Robert Walton, All)

With hopes to bring democracy and education into the country’s focus, LDS presidential candidate Yeah Samake looks to win Mali’s presidential election scheduled for July 28.

BYU University Communications released a video about BYU alumnus Samake, which highlights the goals and vision he has for Mali.

“Education is a very important message for the people of Mali,” Samake said in the video. “I’m the living illustration of that.”

Mali is one of the world’s 10 poorest countries, and in the video clip Samake explained how his father’s drive to educate his children helped the family break the long chain of poverty.

Samake graduated from BYU with his master’s degree in 2004, and although he and his wife enjoyed Utah, they decided to move back to Mali.

Yeah Samake, a former BYU student and now mayor of Ouelessebougou in Mali, West Africa,  is going to run for president of the country. Photo taken in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 6, 2011. (Photo Courtesy of Robert Walton, All) Yeah Samake, a former BYU student and now mayor of Ouelessebougou in Mali, West Africa, is going to run for president of the country. Photo taken in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, April 6, 2011. (Photo Courtesy of Robert Walton, All)

“I could have stayed here (Utah), but truly, America does not need me. My country needs me,” Samake said.

In 2009 Samake was elected mayor of Ouelessebougou, Mali. In the various villages he oversaw, Samake increased the percentage of taxpayers, introduced solar power and built 15 new school buildings.

Samake hopes to see positive changes in his country’s future.

“My hope is Mali can become a Democracy, that Mali becomes a country where we have peace and prosperity,” Samake said in the clip.

Abby Stevens is a writer for the DeseretNews.com Faith and Family sections. She is a recent graduate of Brigham Young University–Idaho. Contact Abby at astevens@deseretdigital.com.

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