An outsider in Kenya’s Presidential race is sparking the debate about cannabis in the continent of Africa.
George Wajackoyah, 62, is a law professor and immigration lawyer has turned into a viral sensation on the campaign trail as he shouts “bhangi, bhangi, bhangi” to his fans, the Swahili word for marijuana.
Running mostly on a campaign to fight Kenya’s corruption in public office and the overreliance on China it is the marijuana aspect that has garnered attention.
Wajackoyah has stated that he wants to harness cannabis production in the country for industrial and medical use. With this he hopes to solve two of the major issues in Kenya, unemployment and massive debt.
He has managed to gain a swell of support from the urban and rural youth regardless of their ethnicity, region or traditional party lines.
With the election taking place on Tuesday, Wajackoyah is unlikely to win however. The two frontrunners are neck and neck with the best hope for Wajackoyah to possibly force a runoff. Despite only polling at around 4% the contest between the two frontrunners is so tight that they are fearful of losing any votes to him.
Around 6 African nations have legalised cannabis including Morocco and Lesotho. South Africa also allows cultivation and the use of cannabis but only in private.
There is a possibility that if Wajackoyah can continue his momentum the debate will continue in Kenya and spread throughout the region.
Despite this there are still many obstacles to overcome, one being the more eccentric policies he has provided including exporting hyena testicles.
Kenya also remains a largely conservative country with a strong religious imprint.
Although unlikely to be unsuccessful in his Kenya’s Presidential race, Wajackoyah has certainly stirred up the debate within the nation and possibly within the continent.