August 9

Peek at Roots Party vision of lucrative snake, bhang trade

Thursday, June 30th, 2022 23:06 | By
Roots Party presidential candidate George Wajackoyah at KICC moments before he launched his party’s manifesto yesterday evening. PD/Kenna CLAUDE
Roots Party presidential candidate George Wajackoyah at KICC moments before he launched his party’s manifesto yesterday evening. PD/Kenna CLAUDE

Imagine waking up to a leisurely walk in lush marijuana plantations, then later nurturing and harvesting the plants instead of the traditional staples and cash crops.

What of a country where all families in rural areas are empowered by the government to put up cages to breed various species of poisonous snakes for sale?

Now stop imagining — this is the vision of Roots Party’s presidential candidate George Wajackoyah. It is envisioned in the manifesto he and running-mate Justina Wamae launched yesterday at Kenyatta International Convention Centre (KICC), as they sought to woo Kenyans to their State House bid.

Unlike Deputy President William Ruto and former Prime Minister Raila Odinga, whose manifestoes are loaded with myriad proposals, Wajackoyah’s blueprint is simple, with just 10 pillars. Wajackoyah has been running a controversial, seemingly populist, campaign which has earned him considerable traction.

Address all challenges

The self-styled marijuana promoter says he believes the 10 points are sufficient to address the country’s social, political and economic challenges.

From legalised cultivation and sale of marijuana to the rearing of snakes and dogs to boost the economy and pay off Kenya’s debts, to the suspension of the Constitution. And from the introduction of federal governance, relocation of the country’s capital to Isiolo, uprooting of the Standard Gauge Railway, expulsion of Chinese contractors, to the killing of corrupt people, Wajackoyah’s manifesto is radical and controversial.

“Just 2.5 acres of marijuana can fetch Sh7.8 million in revenue. My government will legalise marijuana farming for export and use the proceeds to pay off national debts to China,” reads a highlight in his manifesto.

Wajackoyah, if elected, would have Kenya sign out of World Trade Organisation provisions and other treaties that bar the sale of snake venom, saying that while western nations simply see the beauty of Kenya’s tourism, he sees lucrative, agro-medicine deals that could earn Kenyans untold revenue. Wajackoyah says Roots Party would introduce snake farming aimed at venom extraction for sale to pharmaceutical firms, sale of skins to leather industries and export of bush meat to China and the US.

 Pay off debts

“This is a lucrative trade. We can batter with the Chinese to pay off our debts.’’

In Kenya, Wajackoyah’s manifestos states, that dogs and snakes are an unexploited national resource that his administration would upscale to raise billions of shillings from China and western counties. The earnings would pay off the country’s debt, which has risen to about Sh8 trillion.

Dog rearing, he says, would generate employment and development. “We will be the first African country to farm snakes. The World Trade Organisation and other entities have banned the extraction of snake venom because they know its value. Pharmaceutical companies brought this agenda to the superpowers — to bar the harvesting of snake venom.

“Yet snake venom is very expensive. I ventured into, it’s like a beehive, another level where Kenya can increase earnings,” says Wajackoya, whose policies include stationing trade in ivory.

In a recent interview with People Daily, he said: “We are also going to trade in ivory. We have enough elephants and we are not going to follow the European system of saying that we should cull animals. That we should keep wild animals for tourism purposes only. We should get what we want from wild animals. Rhino horns are very lucrative in the aphrodisiac industry. We can keep many of them and sell some to alleviate poverty — not this myopic whiteness.” Aware that his critics think he is fake, and a drug addict, Wajackoyah seems unfazed by all the smoke.

The man of many letters has angered church leaders, especially on bhang legalization. Recently, he has swapped his designer suits for casual wear, an unkempt beard and a riff-raff moustache. “I am no joke; that’s is why I am very successful. I neither drink, nor smoke, nor eat meat. I am 62 years — sound and elaborate.”

Corruption, which gobbles up a third of Kenya’s budget, is also on his spectrum. He says the Judiciary is an emblem of corruption and some judges, magistrates and civil servants should be hanged if found guilty of graft. Without remorse, he vows he would rule with an iron fist.

Hang the corrupt

“Each day, Sh2 billion is lost to corruption. This money could have saved lives. So, for every life lost due to corruption, my government would hang the thieves. A life for a life,” he says.

To achieve this dream, Wajackoyah says he would suspend for six months some parts of the Constitution to allow Kenyans a rethink.

Wajackoyah says Kenyans feel the law is not good enough for them, going by past proposals to amend the Constitution through the failed Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) spearheaded by former premier Raila Odinga and President Uhuru Kenyatta, as well as the Punguza Mzigo initiative by Third Way Alliance.

Under his regime, Nairobi would cease being the capital city in favour of Isiolo, with eight regional governments to empower local communities.

Wajackoya adds that Kenyans are tired, overworked and overstressed. The remedy to this, he adds, is a four-day work per week in a 24-hour economy. Friday would be a weekend and prayer day for approximately one million Muslims.

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