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Photo by Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images.

LAMU, KENYA - MARCH 01: Young rasta man chewing qat in the street, Lamu County, Lamu, Kenya on March 1, 2011 in Lamu, Kenya.

Kenyan Rastafarians Want Cannabis Unbanned for Religious Reasons

The Rastafari Society of Kenya argues that the personal use of cannabis, which is currently outlawed in the country, is an integral part of their religion.

According to local media reports, the Rastafari Society of Kenya has gone before the High Court to argue in favour of the personal use of cannabis. Currently illegal in Kenya, the minority religious group argues that the laws criminalising the use of cannabis in Kenya are prejudiced towards their religion given that the substance is a "sacrament connecting believers to their creator." Cannabis is commonly used as incense to initiate religious practises by Rastafarians and is often followed by a series of praises and prayers.

READ: A Rastafarian Girl Was Banned from School in Kenya Because of Her Locks

Under Section 3 of Kenya's Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Control Act, the private and public use of cannabis, cultivation for commercial purposes and the general sale of the substance is prohibited. The CEO of the National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (NACADA), Victor Okioma, espouses the strict use of cannabis for medical and scientific purposes but not for recreational activities.

However, Shadrack Wambui, the attorney representing the Rastafari Society of Kenya, says the following:

"The impugned law which was enacted in the year 1994 is hostile and intolerant to persons professing the Rastafari faith yet we are in a new constitutional framework following the promulgation of the Constitution of Kenya 2010 that is progressive and accommodative of diversity."

Unlike Kenya, there are several countries on the continent which have permitted the use of cannabis in varying forms. Lesotho recently became the first African country to obtain permission to export cannabis to the European Union after the Lesotho-based company, MG Health, was recognised for its high quality production standards. The cannabis flower is reportedly set to be used as a pharmaceutical ingredient. South Africa, on the other hand, decriminalised the personal use of cannabis in a private residence back in 2018 following a landmark judgement by the Constitutional Court. The country is now looking at how to enter into the industry and create a viable business sector.

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Six Things History Will Remember Kenneth Kaunda For

News of Kenneth David Kaunda's passing, at age 97, has reverberated across the globe. Kaunda, affectionately known as KK, was Zambia's first President from 1964 to 1991.

Following Nelson Mandela's passing in December 2013, Kenneth Kaunda became Africa's last standing hero. Now with his passing on Thursday, June 17 — after being admitted to the Maina Soko Military Hospital in Lusaka earlier in the week — this signals the end of Africa's liberation history chapter.

It is tempting to make saints out of the departed. The former Zambian struggle hero did many great things. He was, after all, one of the giants of the continent's struggle against colonialism. Ultimately however, he was a human being. And as with all humans, he lived a complicated and colourful life.

Here are six facts you might not have known about him.

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