Political Party’s Proposal to Legalize Bhang, Prostitution in Kenya “unthinkable”: Bishop

The Catholic Church in Kenya, through Bishop James Maria Wainaina (left) says Roots Party Presidential candidate George Wajackoyah (right) is not fit to lead the country. Credit: Courtesy Photo

The proposal to legalize marijuana and prostitution in Kenya that is part of the manifesto of the Roots Party of Kenya is retrogressive, “very unfortunate”, and “unthinkable”, a Catholic Bishop in the East African nation has said.

When launching the manifesto of the Roots Party of Kenya on June 30, the party’s presidential candidate, George Luchiri Wajackoyah, also said that if elected President during the August 9 polls, he will suspend the Constitution to allow Kenyans to decide on the kind of laws they want, and that he would introduce a death penalty for anyone found guilty of corruption.

In a statement read out to the press and published on his Facebook page Sunday, July 3,  Bishop James Maria Wainaina holds that what the Kenyan political party is proposing through its leader, Dr. Wajackoyah, portrays “a high level of depravity of our society that is now rearing up its ugly head”.

“It is unthinkable that a Party proposing a candidate to the highest office in the country would propose legalization of marijuana and prostitution,” Bishop Wainaina said on the sidelines of the Family Day celebrations of St. Paul Kangari Parish of Kenya’s Catholic Diocese of Murang’a.

The Local Ordinary of the Kenyan Diocese said that he found it “very unfortunate” that the Roots Party of Kenya’s proposals are being pronounced in public, adding that if implemented, “Such proposals would destroy what we have painstakingly nurtured over the decades, and therefore must be challenged and rejected by all of us.”


When launching the manifesto for his political party, Dr. Wajackoyah said the legalization of bhang in Kenya will give room to its large-scale production as to become a substitute to less productive cash crops. 

In his July 3 statement, Bishop Wainaina said it is “unthinkable to propose cultivation of marijuana for export as a solution to the economic problems of our country, replacing some traditional cash crops.”

“Bhang is listed as illegal in the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Control Act Section 3 (2) (a) of 1984 revised in 2012,” the Kenyan Catholic Bishop who has been at the helm of Murang’a Diocese since his Episcopal Ordination in June 2009 said.

He further explained, “We, the Kenyan people, have seen how bhang has destroyed our families, rendering them destitute and making them havens of unthinkable domestic violence. In some instances, recovery of affected individual persons and families has proved not only very expensive but even impossible.” 

In a section of Kenyan learning institutions, Bishop Wainaina said, students “riding high on weed” have razed down building and destroyed other properties. 

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“Lives have been lost in such violence, not to mention the inevitable poor academic performance it has caused,” he said, adding that instead of legalizing the drug, Kenyans need to be concerned about the mental health of young people and the general population.  

On the proposal to legalize sex work, the 65-year-old Kenyan Bishop said, “Prostitution in any and all its manner of practice is immoral and leads to social decadence that is unacceptable in a sane society.”

“In our Kenyan society we have in the past built a religious character that is generally God-fearing; this must be protected,” he said.

While the presidential candidate of the Roots Party of Kenya stands for morality and solidarity, the Bishop of Murang’a said that Dr. Wajackoyah’s assertion “is far different from the well-known moral values and virtues, and would not promote personal integrity and discipline.” 

“Such proposals would destroy what we have painstakingly nurtured over the decades, and therefore must be challenged and rejected by all of us,” he said,


Bishop Wainaina called on Kenyans to “look beyond populism” in the campaign season and “begin to enumerate the consequences of such possible policies on our youth and children in our Nation, specifically on the people who are already living in misery.”

“We need to interrogate some of these unfortunate utterances and the implications on the philosophy of the Kenya society, now and in the future,” he said.

Bishop Wainaina questioned the silence of the government and other presidential candidates regarding Dr. Wajackoyah’s proposals. 

“Silence can be interpreted as consent. What does the silence of the authorities in the Government mean about this matter?” he posed, adding, “There is also a noticeable silence by the other candidates to the presidency.” 

The Catholic Church leader said, “We cannot keep silent in front of these proposals, without the youth and children assuming that we accept them. We do not accept the proposals of legalization of marijuana and prostitution. Rather, we state that they are wrong, unethical and should be condemned.”

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“We strongly stand for values in the society; they matter,” Bishop Wainaina said July 3.

He added, “We are therefore calling upon the relevant authorities in this country that deal with ethics and good public order to take action against these misleading utterances.”

Magdalene Kahiu is a Kenyan journalist with passion in Church communication. She holds a Degree in Social Communications from the Catholic University of Eastern Africa (CUEA). Currently, she works as a journalist for ACI Africa.