As Kenya’s two top presidential hopefuls vie for votes in the upcoming election, a third candidate has emerged on a campaign of marijuana and hyena testicles to help solve the country’s economic problems.

East Africa’s richest nation is holding elections on August 9, with veteran opposition leader Raila Odinga and vice-president William Ruto leading a tight race.

However, reggae aficionado George Wajackoyah emerged as a generic candidate, who promised to erase the country’s debt with his “ganja fix”.

Mr Wajackoyah has attracted younger members of the electorate, with many saying conventional politicians have failed to tackle corruption, inflation and unemployment.

The gravedigger-turned-law professor won around 2% of the vote, but could have a say in the election if he endorses one of the frontrunners or takes votes from another.

During his campaign trial, he promised to erase Kenya’s debt of nearly $70billion (£57.9billion) by creating a medical cannabis industry and exporting animal parts to China, where he says hyena testicles are considered a delicacy.

“I created a new tribe, known as the ganja tribe,” he said, explaining his popularity.

“These (politicians), they have helicopters, they have money, they painted cars. I don’t even have a single poster.”

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It has caught the attention of young voters, who feel disenfranchised by established politicians

“The Cannabis Solution”

Mr Wajackoyah is a well-known figure in the Nairobi club scene, and local media coverage of his run for the presidency has led to speculation he is backed by a bigger campaign to try to attract the youth vote .

However, he dismissed those rumours, saying he had turned down offers of money for candidate endorsements.

Instead, he dreams of smoking marijuana in the president’s office.

“We’re going to go to State House and smoke it to get rid of the colonial impurities,” the 62-year-old said in his
paneled desk, sporting a do-rag and listening to a Hare Krishna prayer.

Other policies on his manifesto range from federalizing government and renegotiating Kenya’s debt with China to hanging those found guilty of corruption.

“We came up with the ganja solution,” he said.

Kenyan presidential candidate George Wajackoyah speaks during an election campaign rally in Gatundu, Kenya August 3, 2022. REUTERS/Baz Ratner

A low-budget campaign trial

The wildcard candidate is running on a shoestring budget, with his supporters creating homemade posters featuring his snow-white beard and the slogan “Wajackoya the 5th”, referring to his bid to become Kenya’s fifth president.

“If I showed you how much money I have, you would laugh,” he said.

Due to his budget, his rallies involved him arriving at markets unannounced, blasting reggae music from his car, and presenting his candidacy to onlookers.

A supporter of Kenyan presidential candidate George Wajackoyah holds his poster during an election campaign rally in Gatundu, Kenya August 3, 2022. REUTERS/Baz Ratner
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Currently, he collects around 2% of the vote, far behind the two top candidates.

On Wednesday, Mr Wajakoyah’s convoy traveled to Gatundu, about 30 km north of the capital, where a crowd of around 400 people gathered.

“Every election cycle, everyone comes here with their propaganda,” said worker Jeff Mwangi.

“If this man can do what he really says… we will go very far as a country.