By Silas Nyanchwani
Gwada Ogot wants to be elected president of Kenya. He also wants more. A few years ago, former Republican Presidential hopeful Ron Paul made news headlines, calling for the repeal of laws against prostitution, cocaine and heroin. The freedom to use drugs, he argued, is equivalent to the freedom of people to “practice their religion and say their prayers.” Liberty must be defended “across the board.”
“It is amazing that we want freedom to pick our future in a spiritual way,” he said, “but not when it comes to our personal habits.”
In Kenya, a new entrant to the presidential race, Gwada Ogot want the use of marijuana legalized. African Warrior Magazine talked to Gwada about his mission relative to marijuana, his political ambition, and matters life:
Why did you leave Kenya in 2009?
I left after surviving an attack by security agents that had been sent by a very senior politician. I identified one of them. They threatened my wife and bragged to her that they would kill me. I left Kenya and with the help of the Kenya Human Rights Commission, was handed over to Foundation of Human Rights of Uganda.
What Kept you busy in Uganda over the last six years
I worked for the Citizens’ Coalition for Electoral Democracy in Uganda (CCEDU), as their head of research and information. This gave me an opportunity to travel through Africa where I made more than 110 presentations on electoral democracy. I introduced the notion of electronic rigging and electronic observation as we used in a by-election observations in Uganda in 2012 working for NRM. My research and findings in other areas, for instance, circumcision has been accepted by numerous bodies such the Kenya Anti-FGM Board. I have also spent the last two years writing an encyclopedia that explains the meaning of the names of various towns in Kenya, cities of the world, countries and natural features. It is a 2,000-page tome, that was spiritually inspired. I had to forego so much: Food, sex, sleep, smoking in order to finish the book.
I’m just back trying to start my life afresh.
With vying for the presidency?
Yes. I want to run on the platform of knowledge. No candidate has ever done that. I will battle under the Star of David as my symbol and my themes are Light, Knowledge and Solutions. I will be the voice of the voiceless and the poor who are always reduced to be voyeurs as politicians perform political incest. I am not an extension of oligarchies like say Peter Kenneth or Martha Karua.
What are three major things you will be focusing on?
I will focus on justice, which includes punishment. I will also initiate a complete reform of government and its institutions. All this will be inspired by God, I am gnostic. Our judiciary is on trial. Education on trial. History is on trial. We will work to change that. I have searched and found answers for everything that our country needs. This is an election where incumbents will lose. Incumbency and history are not an advantage.
And you so passionate that marijuana should be legalized. Do you smoke in the first place?
No. I don’t smoke. I want it primarily for commercial purposes. Citizens should be given a chance to utilize what they love freely. Also, those jailed because of smoking or possession should be released because they have not wronged anyone or God. Legalizing it will create a new tax base and create new jobs, because hemp is used to make paper-gives ten times more paper than trees- and hemp can be used for medicinal purposes. China and France have greatly benefited from its trade. No candidate has suggested new tax bases.
You are not worried about addiction and its dangers?
Anything that can be misused always can create problems, like alcohol, or cigarettes. Like everything in life, its usage must be in moderation and the its trade regulated.
You recently petitioned in the Senate to have a university degree removed as a requirement for holding political office in Kenya. Do you have a degree?
No. I don’t have. But without a university degree, I have generated tons of knowledge through my research activities that can now be studied in universities world over, the reason, I insist this election should be based on knowledge, not education. Education is process, knowledge is a product. We have more consumers of knowledge and almost zero producers of knowledge.
The reason all non-degree holders should not vote for Uhuru now that he assented the bill that only people with degrees should run for office. Laws which demand a degree for jobs in the political, spiritual, public and private sectors are behind the wild mushrooming of universities and mediocre graduates. It is true that ‘there is no evidence that success at university correlates with achievement in later life’ says a Ernst & Young, one of the UK’s biggest graduate recruiters who removed the degree classification from its entry criteria in August 2015. In public service and governance, the university degree has efficiently defeated every stated purpose it set out to achieve. Only a university degree can mislead persons into believing they deserve more, and know more than others at all times.
What do you think of the country’s youth?
They are victims of poor leadership. They have a lot of potential, yet it can only be used on menial jobs such as building roads. Yet, they at their most adventurous, full of ideas that should be tapped into.
What do you think of the Jubilee government?
They have been a deep disappointment. The President and the Deputy President were not psychologically prepared. They had other reasons they vied, not governance.
Great aspirations. Wrong players. It is KANU repackaged. They are part of problem, same old story. We need to focus on delivery, not same old rhetoric.
And what is your strategy to win the presidency?
I have identified the key areas that will define our campaigns. My platform will be knowledge, so I will distinguish myself from the rest who have never produced knowledge. I will be the voice of the landless. Other aspirants are land owners. I have identified the Jua Kali sector as a component of our strategy. They produce ideas and goods that are consumed locally. They are the foundation of our industrial revolution. I will also focus on teachers and production of knowledge. We are now in the era of knowledge of light.
How will you fund your campaigns?
I will mobilise money from friends and will raise money from my book sales. But my campaign will be less about money, but we will use knowledge to reach out to people. It is the gentiles who use money.
And you say you are spiritually inspired
Yes. And soon, I will start a religious movement. I will come with a platform called The Great Light that will bring together all denominations since we serve one God. I can explain the meaning God in each religious order. I am prophet Enoch, one of the two prophets prophesied to come back, the other one is Elijah. So, expect a church soon.
- From: Alego, Ng’iya, Siaya.
- Finished from Kakamega High in Form 6 in 1984.
- Holds a Diploma in Marketing from Graffins College.
- Played Rugby for the Nondies, Kenya Breweries and founded Kisumu RFC.
- “I have nurtured more rugby internationals than anyone here in Kenya.”
- Played for Kenya Breweries in 1988-89 and Black Mamba, the last time they were in the Kenyan Premier League in 1990.
- Worked as the Marketing Manager of Molo Milk between 1999-2001.
- Was a political commentator with local media from 2004 to 2009.
- Marital status: Married with more than 5 children.
Additional reporting by Mukurima X Muriuki