Once a street kid in Nairobi and a grave digger in Britain, George Locheri Wijakwe entered the political scene with “cannabis”: legalizing marijuana, breeding snakes and Pledge to sell hyena testicles to China
Passionate, eccentric, politically inexperienced and with a great sense of humor, the 63-year-old is not the typical candidate for Kenya’s top job – he is often on the campaign trail in tracksuits and barefoot.
But the eccentric lawyer, who sports a gray beard and trademark durag (bandana), has shaken up the race, becoming the unlikely populist who could force Kenya’s first presidential election.
As his rusted campaign truck pulls up on the side of a dusty road on the outskirts of Nairobi, a handful of young men gather, drawn by the reggae music blaring from the speakers.
Wajakoya smiles and fist bumps his supporters as they chant “cannabis, cannabis,” a reference to his pledge to legalize cannabis to ease Kenya’s $70-billion debt burden.
Often gesturing with his fingers as if he were smoking a cigarette, he promises to take his first puff when he wins the August 9 election.
“I’ll be everybody’s president,” he says. “I want people to do one thing: elect the individual, not the party.”
Escape to exile
The jewel-loving lawyer says it was dug out of Nairobi’s rubbish pits by renowned Kenyan conservationist and fossil hunter Richard Leakey and worshipers at the Hare Krishna Temple.
After high school in 1980, he joined the police, rose through the ranks and then became a top spy during the dictatorial regime of late President Daniel Arap Moi.
It was his investigation into the 1990 assassination of Foreign Minister Robert Oku – one of Kenya’s most high-profile murders – that led to his arrest and torture, before he was forced into exile in Britain. go
There, he worked menial jobs, including digging graves, to fund his education before returning to Kenya in 2010.
Wajakuya claims to have 17 degrees, mostly in immigration and refugee law, although this could not be verified.
Running on the Rastafarian-inspired Roots Party ticket, Wijakaiah has made legalizing marijuana for recreational and medical use a cornerstone of his 10-point campaign agenda.
Marijuana is illegal in Kenya, but Wajakoya says it has the potential to unlock billions of dollars, generating up to $76 billion a year.
AFP’s digital investigative team found the claim to be misleading.
His manifesto also calls for Kenya to export hyena testicles, valued in Chinese medicine, and to sell dog and snake meat and venom – proposals that have angered wildlife campaigners. What has angered
“We will raise snakes. Each venomous snake farmer will earn an average of $6,000 per vial of antivenom,” he announced.
He wants to hang criminals – a hot-button issue that affects almost every level of society – and reduce the work week to four days.
He said that anyone caught or found guilty of stealing public money would be publicly hanged.
Wajackoyah even hosts at least one look-alike and copycat social media accounts.
Although winning the presidency is a long shot, observers say Wajakoya – who is married to a US citizen and has three children – could muster enough votes to close between front-runners Raila Odinga and William Ruto. can trigger the second round.
“Wajakuya is likely to take away a large share of the ‘trickle-down’ votes,” academic Michael Andoni wrote in The Standard newspaper.
“He is likely to take away a significant portion of voters who identify with his attention-grabbing queer politics.”
Daily Nation columnist Macharia Gethu wrote, Wijakaiah’s campaign has “captured the imagination of angry, disillusioned youth in both urban and rural Kenya, breaking all formal ethnic, regional and party lines”.
But speculation is rife that Wajakoya is a political puppet.
In June, while campaigning in Odinga’s lakeside stronghold of Kisumu, Wajakoya told supporters that if they did not vote for him, they should consider the veteran opposition politician, now backed by the ruling party. Got it.
And just days before the election, he led a crowd to cheer for Odinga, saying: “I’m here to join the group of liberators and the person I see is somebody. And not Raila Odinga.”
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