Every presidential election in Kenya since the turn of the millennium has had that one outlier presidential candidate who captures the imagination of Kenyans, not for his or her potential to win but for being interesting.
From Nixon Kukubo to Waweru Ng’ethe, Nazlin Umar, Peter Kenneth and Abduda Dida; these men and women have caught the country’s attention in different ways while seeking to occupy the House on the Hill.
However, a 61-year-old lawyer is somehow changing the rule book by causing unprecedented ripples in the run-up to the August 9 polls.
Prof George Luchiri Wajackoyah, affably known as the “Ganja President”, has managed to be the talk of the town since he burst onto the political scene with his eccentric antics.
The durag-rocking former special branch officer is literally arresting the citizens with his unconventional manifesto, which has also attracted criticism. From a promise of smoking bhang at State House to cleanse it, to growing the weed beneath the multibillion-shilling Nairobi Expressway and turning Kenya into a global powerhouse in snake farming, the professor is giving as good as he gets.
It is no wonder he has become an instant sensation, going viral and managing to change the meaning of the swear word, WTF, into a movement known as Wajackoyah the Fifth.
With his weird slogan, “tingisha miti”, the Roots Party of Kenya leader has literally shaken the country. Or is it a case of trying to shake a mugumo tree only for your behind to shake instead?
But even as we wait for time to tell, the man from Kakamega is already a force to reckon with. Among his proposals is to legalise weed farming in the country for medicinal purposes and as a foreign exchange earner.
The man from Kakamega, not far away from the bhang hotbed that is Luanda in Vihiga County, says a sack of marijuana is able to fetch more than Sh320 million in the international market. And if we all take to bhang, he says, we will easily offset the ballooning public debt in a matter of puffs, as well as help grow Kenya’s economy.
Even the by-products of the marijuana plant will not go to waste as hemp fibre will be used to hang the corrupt as he looks to reintroduce the “hangman’s noose” in Kenya as part of his promise on zero tolerance for corruption.
“People who steal public money deserve nothing but death. There will be no room for corruption in my administration. We shall seek legislation of the death penalty to hang anyone who has stolen public funds,” he says.
The bearded lawyer, who wants to be a dictator president should he be elected, also plans to suspend the Constitution for six months and everybody go home. He is also looking at reducing working days from five to four from Monday to Thursday, as well as moving Kenya’s capital from Nairobi to North-Eastern to open up the northern frontier and freeing up Nairobi to remain as an industrial hub.
But that is not all from the weed-loving non-smoker. Talk of preaching water and drinking wine. Prof Wajackoyah wants Kenyans to venture into snake farming for export to rival coffee and tea farming, with toxins extracted from the poisonous snakes sold in the anti-venom market.
The remaining snake meat will also be sold to the Chinese as a way of offsetting their debt owed by Kenya.
Imagine having hawkers following you around with a live snake, shouting: “Nunua huyu kwa bei ya jioni. Ni mzuri wa kufuga.”
But behind that calm and soft-spoken demeanour, the former police officer shoots straight and not in the air. He is clearly not in the mood for taking prisoners.
When the Catholic Church criticised his push to commercialise marijuana farming in Kenya, saying the “immoral and unethical manifesto” will break the moral and social fabric of the country and should be shunned; he was stinging in his response.
He hit back at the clergy, calling them “ignorant” over their refusal to move with the times and misunderstanding his manifesto.
“Some bishops have been found in bushes sleeping recklessly, and instead of facing judgment, they are trying to incite Kenyans,” he said.
If push comes to shove, he urged his supporters to consider boycotting churches until the clergy shift their position on the issue.