Like Trump in US, can Wajackoyah pull off a surprise in August polls?

Roots Party presidential candidate George Wajackoyah at KICC during the launch of his Presidential manifesto on Thursday, June 30 2022. [Samson Wire, Standard]

Many have termed George Wajackoyah as a joke taken too far. But it’s that season in global geopolitics where some extreme jokes have been institutionalised.

In 2016, the mayor of London, one Boris Johnson, came with an idea that sounded like a joke; get the United Kingdom out of the European Union. It was preposterous because the British are as Europeans as Madagascar is African. That joke was voted for overwhelmingly in a process dubbed Brexit.

A few months later, the Americans made a similar strange call when they voted Donald Trump, a man so unfit the media classified his politics as entertainment. Can Wajackoyah pull the same stunt in Kenya and win the election? That is for fortune tellers to predict. I shall, however, look at the content of the so-called joke.

First, it is proper to say that for all his extremes, professor seems to be the only candidate bold enough to outline his source of revenue. The other candidates have their eyes trained on taxation and borrowing, given their silence.

Cannabis farming

He proposes cannabis farming and export. He estimates that the country farming Marijuana in Nyeri county only, can generate a revenue of USD 96 billion per annum, enough to pay off our loans and secure the economy.

This, exciting as it is, is not realistic. The global legal marijuana industry is worth USD 13.2 billion per annum. It is expected to grow to USD 45 billion by 2026 as more countries legalize its farming and production.

The largest producer of the herb is Afghanistan which has the highest yield per hectare at 145kg producing about 3,500 tonnes annually.

Cannabis production remains illegal in Afghanistan yet a United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) report indicated that between 10,000 and 24,000 hectares of cannabis are grown every year in the country, with major cultivation in 17 out 34 provinces.

The yield per hectare is about $3,341 meaning the country generates roughly 80 million dollars per annum. The cost of production remains much lower than most cash crops.

Following this global reality then, cannabis farming seems to be a lucrative industry globally but lacks the kind of yield promised by the professor.

Further, the large-scale production envisaged by the professor would lower global prices and make it even harder to attain the desired target.

Snake farming

The second proposal is snake farming. This is possibly the only sound idea proposed by the professor. A vial of antivenom retails between USD 3,000 to even USD 40,000 depending on the source.

A scientific farming experiment that focuses on high-yield snakes can indeed prove fruitful.

However, if this is to yield the desired results, the antivenom needs to be produced locally as opposed to the export of primary products. Further, given the risks involved, it needs to be a highly scientific process.

Thirdly, male testicles of hyenas have trended since his announcements. Targeting hyena hunting for testicles would mean licensing hunters of the animals.

Hunters are like shoppers in a supermarket; you go, for one thing, you see another which is more valuable and you target it as well.

Hyena hunting will lead to an increase in poaching of rare animals and impact our ecosystem negatively. The end result is a reduction in our tourism revenues.

Will the execution of economic crime offenders reduce corruption and make Kenya better? History from the communist nations like China, that practised this approach says it never works.

On the contrary, it ensures that corruption is privatised by the president who holds military power and his close allies. This will in turn cause political instability.

But more importantly, will the executions be judicial or extra-judicial? Either way, why would a candidate running for an executive office make a promise on a judicial function out of the province of his mandate?

Beyond this, the ideas take an extremely simplistic turn, difficult to analyze soberly.

Chasing away foreigners, stopping the operation of SGR, creation of 6 states and a 4-day work week are all proposed, making one wonder if in fact the roots party leader is serious about the presidency.

Sober or not, the innovative ideas of cannabis and snake farming are worth mulling over