updated 08/18/2010 AT 11:00 AM ET
•originally published 08/18/2010 AT 11:05 AM ET
He’s in not even officially a candidate yet, yet Wyclef Jean’s campaign to become president of Haiti is already proving to be a struggle.
The hip-hop artist, 40, is currently is hiding in a secret location in the Caribbean nation after receiving death threats over his proposed candidacy, according to a series of e-mails he sent to the Associated Press.
This follows criticism levied at Jean by Sean Penn, who’s been active in Haiti since the devastating earthquake in January and who has questioned Jean’s credentials.
Jean, a former leader of the Fugees, revealed his political ambitions earlier this month, telling PEOPLE he was running for president of Haiti to end “the corruption that’s been going on for the past 200 years.”
But he still awaits a ruling from Haiti’s electoral commission on whether he can legally run. Candidates must have lived in Haiti for five straight years before an election, but Jean says his 2007 appointment as a roving ambassador exempts him from the residency requirement.