By Alagie Manneh
Bankole Yao Jojo Ahadzie, the dreadlocked scientist researcher working at the Medical Research Council, also called Banky, has announced he will run for president in December 2021.
Banky, who holds a PhD, also said his government will invest a billion dalasi in sport, in addition to providing free education and the creation of thousand jobs a year.
Outlining his vision Friday in front of the media at the Badala Park, Banky explained why he embraced the Rastafarian lifestyle, popular with many Gambian youths.
“What I want and why I am a Rasta is that I identify with people who have potentials but are being squeezed or denied. When I was starting, everybody was saying ‘no, cut your hair if you want to be president. I told them no, I will not cut my hair. People are saying ‘tell him to cut off his rasta’ even before listening to what I have to say to them. Why? Because we are in a conservative society. It’s all hypocritical,” he said.
Banky said The Gambia should decriminalise cannabis like the UN did and take advantage of its economic and health benefits like Morocco and Uganda.
“The UN has decriminalised cannabis because the WHO is calling for studies on the medical benefits of cannabis. In The Gambia, it is not illegal for me to buy a bottle of beer but they will arrest me for smoking cannabis. No. If we are going to allow alcohol, if we are going to allow cigarette, if we are going to allow prostitution, then leave people to smoke freely,” he said.
He revealed that economically, in places like Morocco and Uganda, they are making billions from selling cannabis.
Banky said these and other reasons inspire him to call for the legalisation of weed.
“Personally, I support the legalisation of cannabis, but you people [in the media] will go and twist it to tell the Gambian people that this Rasta man is coming to legalise cannabis.”
Banky also criticised the president’s annual budget as unjustifiable, complaining that it demonstrated the president is more important than investments in sports and other areas.
He suggested that the time for a radical shift in Gambian politics has come, accusing the “old guard of trying to hold onto power….”
“The pigs have taken over the animal farm,” he said without elaborating, while arguing that prices of all essential commodities continue to skyrocket.