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In Kenya, promises of weed heaven are electrifying the electorate

Whimsical Kenyan presidential candidate plans 4-day weeks and cannabis farms

George Wajackoyah, a spy-turned-law professor and seen as a literal and figurative joker, one of Kenya's four prominent presidential candidates, persists and signs, hoping to become the fifth elected president and solve the problem of the country's debt by legalizing the cultivation of cannabis and exporting hyena testicles.

At one of the last rallies of his campaign, George Wajackoyah drove into Mwea town with his head and shoulders protruding from the sunroof of a 4x4. Other cars followed close behind, one of which had a huge loudspeaker playing reggae music and announcing his name.

Tuesday's presidential vote is seen as a direct competition between Vice President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Oding.

In 10 years, the national debt has gone from 2 trillion shillings ($16,8 billion), or 40% of gross domestic product (GDP), to 9 trillion shillings ($75,5 billion), or 67 % of GDP, and analysts believe that the next president will have a lot to do to revive the country's economy.

Marijuana cultivation will allow this country to pay its debts and ensure that Kenyans will have enough money to stop this debt, Wajackoyah said. In 2021, China planted 68 hectares of cannabis and got $000 billion in return,” he added, referring to Kenya's main creditor.

He plans a large-scale export of hyena testicles and snake venom to give Kenya enough export revenue and legalize the cultivation of cannabis for medicinal purposes, which he says would earn Kenya 9,2 trillion shillings ($77,2 billion) a year.

The proceeds would clear Kenya's debt and pay every citizen 200000 shillings ($1679) in annual dividends, he said. Not surprisingly, this has spurred a national debate on the subject, and his candidacy has garnered a small and growing following.

Young people have been enthusiastic about his promise to introduce four-day work weeks and his campaigns are more like concerts than rallies. Wedged between young women dressed in skimpy crochet outfits and Rastafarian colors, the XNUMX-year-old showed up in bars and nightclubs, dancing to reggae music blaring before addressing his audience.

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Multiple local reports said he holds 16 degrees, including a doctorate from Walden University in the United States, as well as an advanced degree in French from the University of Burundi. He speaks English, French, Swahili, Luhya and Luo. He grew up on the streets of Nairobi and told reporters he was just three years old when his parents abandoned him after their divorce. He said he took to the streets in an attempt to find his mother, who is believed to have moved to Uganda. A benefactor is said to have saved him and enrolled him in school, a story he tells street children encouraging them to take education seriously.

Wajackoyah is also said to have spent ten years in the Kenyan police special services as a spy under the administration of Daniel Arap Moi. He is said to have fled into exile after discovering compromising details of the assassination of one of his ministers, Robert Ouko. Information about his postings in the dreaded spy service at the time is scarce, but in an interview he explained that he fled the country in 1991 for the UK. While studying law there, he claims to have fended for himself working as a gravedigger, before moving to the United States to boost his academic skills.

The professor is married to an American citizen and has three children who are split between the United States and the United Kingdom. In a largely religious and conservative country, Wajackoyah's eccentricity and role in politics have been questioned by members of the public.

“Bhang is smoked in Israel, even Jesus smoked weed,” he continued as young people cheered him on. A number of young people, tickled by his ideologies, followed his campaign truck chanting his slogan, “bangi! boom! boom! the Swahili word for cannabis.

“Kenya has the best marijuana in the world,” he announced at the rally. "All the flowerbeds will be transformed into beautiful green shrubs."

The Kenyan elections could go to a second round if no candidate obtains more than 50% of the votes. It has therefore been suggested that it was a “state project”, strategically positioned in the race for the presidency in order to remove enough votes from the main candidates. Although no one here thinks Wajackoyah will become Kenya's next leader (polls put him at around 2% of the vote), in a close race he could force the top two candidates, current Vice President William Ruto and experienced opposition activist Raila Odinga.

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But Wajackoyah is unfazed by those who say he has no chance of winning. For him, the final objective is not to win elections but to change mentalities. “A victory is when I have an impact on people, and I can see that already,” he told Al Jazeera.

"We are the only political party without a notice board, without a secretariat, without offices," said the 63-year-old candidate. “We don't pay people, because where is the money? ".

"In Japan, if you steal, you are given a chance to kill yourself," Wajackoyah said. "In Kenya, if you steal, you either go to parliament or the senate."

In his Kenya, corrupt politicians will have a choice of how to die. He broke into a big smile as the crowd applauded the remark, then presented his most popular political proposal.

“We need to change our mindsets to look at the economy and fix it and the only way to fix the economy is to grow grass! he shouted into the microphone.

“The Kenyan government told us to plant tea, plant cotton, but it didn't pay off,” he said. After years of government promises, politicians are still corrupt and people are still poor, he added, so maybe it's time to try something drastic.

According to him, the Wajackoyah campaign is part of something new in Kenya. In the past, politics centered on tribalism. But this time around, with high inflation, fuel shortages and high employment, the economy is the most powerful message. And even a fringe candidate like Wajackoyah can feel it.

Wajackoyah looks at the lack of industry in the country and offers to sell dog meat to China. He looks at tired Kenyans and suggests a four-day work week. When this reporter asked him if he was giving Kenyans false hope with easy answers, he bristled. China and the Philippines, he said, have solved big problems, why can't Kenya?

When the reporter mentioned that these two countries had an abysmal human rights record, he scoffed.

"Human rights my ass," said the human rights lawyer. "Let's go. Let's liberate our country first, then we'll do what we have to do.


Tags : AfricaunusualLawMarijuanaPolicy
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Media broadcaster and communications manager specializing in legal cannabis. Do you know what they say? knowledge is power. Understand the science behind cannabis medicine, while staying up to date with the latest health related research, treatments and products. Stay up to date with the latest news and ideas on legalization, laws, political movements. Discover tips, tricks and how-to guides from the most seasoned growers on the planet, including the latest research and findings from the scientific community on the medical qualities of cannabis.