Snake farming, marijuana will clear Kenya's debts - Prof George Wajackoyah

Prof George Wajackoyah. [File, Standard]

Roots Party of Kenya presidential candidate George Wajackoyah says it is time to decriminalize marijuana, practice snake farming and embrace modern agricultural technologies to offset Kenya’s debt which currently skids at Sh8.4 trillion.

Sharing his economic vision for the country during an interview with Trevor Ombija on JKL, Wajackoyah watered-down a decision by MPs on Tuesday to increase the public debt ceiling to Sh10 trillion saying Kenya’s total public and external debt is unsustainable.

Wajackoyah said his administration will, instead, offer the country a strong balance sheet through earnings from the export of marijuana by capitalizing on the industry's lofty market valuations, and revenue from the rapidly growing anti-venom market.

According to the Roots Party leader, companies, including in the United States where recreational use of marijuana has been legalized in 19 states, are angling for Kenya’s untapped market should he win the presidency on August 9, 2022.

“Raising the debt ceiling is a non-issue because we have the solution - the growing of marijuana. It will enable this country to pay its outstanding debts, and ensure Kenyans have enough money wherever they are so that we can sustain and arrest the [debt] situation,” said Wajackoyah.

The attorney projected that his administration will primarily earn over $3 billion per 1,000 acres from the growing and export of the cannabis indica plant, enabling his government to pay off the debt.

“One sack of marijuana, and, I'm not talking of these sacks that you see people carrying – there are sacks scientifically made for marijuana, goes for $3.2 million. If you grow 1,000 acres of land and harvest 1,000 bags, then definitely…,” said Wajackoyah.

To bridge the deficit further, he added that he will introduce snake farming so as to extract venom for medicinal purposes and promote agribusiness.

“A lot of people are bitten by snakes in this country and have to wait for antidotes from abroad through pharmaceutical corporations. We have too many snakes in this country. We’ll extract poison for the manufacture of anti-venom and give the rest of the snake products for consumption to offset the debt,” said Wajackoyah.

A position puffed up by his running mate Justina Wambui Wamae who urged the public to relook governance issues and support marijuana law reform more than ever before, especially in light of mounting debt from Kenya’s top bilateral lender, China.

Wamae challenged their supporters to examine China’s debt regiment and its industrial production of hemp with regard to the Jubilee government’s failed Galana Kulalu Food Security project which she says is a testament that large-scale crop production is possible.

“China in 2021 planted 169,000 acres of marijuana and made $1.2 billion in returns. Here is China that we are Sh9 trillion in debt, meaning we are spending China’s marijuana money on our projects. If you do the math, and we have Galana Kulalu, a million-acre project that failed, for obvious reasons, then why should we take loans from China at high interest yet we have arable land and labour? It is about time we decolonize the minds of our people,” said Wamae.

Pressed to explain how he will circumvent the law considering that marijuana is illegal in Kenya, Wajackoyah said his first mission will be to legalize its use should Roots be given the mandate to govern.

“Israel passed over to Uganda and made an agreement with the Ugandan government to grow marijuana. They're currently growing marijuana on 152,000 acres. Rwanda has legalised; Zimbabwe just legalised the other day; the president of Malawi is now asking Malawians to uproot tobacco to grow marijuana; South Africa did it and Morocco is doing it - the market is really ready and available,” said Wajackoyah.

“Prof, what do you say to a woman who says ‘bhang has destroyed my son's life. He was a normal young man performing well in school, but bhang has taken away his youth and now at 23 he does nothing with his life; a liability to himself and the whole family. It pains me deeply when people joke about weed’?” posed Ombija.

Wajackoyah: “I do sympathize with her just like I sympathize with those who are in Mathare Valley; just like I sympathize with those drug addicts who are in rehabilitation centres; just like I sympathise with those rich men who drink whiskey and make accidents on the road. There is no exception. We should not, actually, be selective, to say, oh, it's only marijuana. Abuse of anything is serious.”