Imperial Ethiopian World Federation - News Articles
Reuters - October 16, 2002
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Oct 16, 10:30 am ET

KINGSTON, Jamaica (Reuters) - In a narrow West Kingston lane, behind a plain wall that bears the
name of the late Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, Jamaica's largest Rastafarian political party
plots its campaign strategy to spread its ideals of helping the poor throughout Jamaica.
Articles From Reuters
Seven Rastafarian Candidates in Jamaican Election
The Imperial Ethiopian World Federation Inc. Political Party has seven candidates on the ballot
for Wednesday's national elections.
The peace-loving Rastafarians, who consider Selassie divine and marijuana a sacrament, say
they have a pragmatic program to lift the lot of all Jamaicans.
They have little hope of winning. Polls indicate the election will be a cliffhanger between the
Caribbean nation's entrenched political forces, the ruling People's National Party, and the
opposition Jamaica Labour Party.
Commentator Clinton Hutton, a lecturer at the University of the West Indies, said the
Rastafarians "don't have a chance" of gaining a seat in Jamaica's parliament." The People's
National Party and Jamaica Labour Party are likely to win all 60 seats.
But "they (Rastafarians) should be taken seriously, given the fact that Jamaica is in a political
crisis," Hutton told the Observer newspaper, lauding Rastafarians for being at the forefront of
social change.
"We emphasize education, housing for people, low-income housing, and Rasta rights," Junior
Anderson, a 54-year-old dreadlocked candidate for Kingston Central, said on Tuesday.
"Community development, more incentive for people. Let the private sector and government
put in more."
While Jamaica's election campaign has been plagued by violence -- stonings, clashes between
rival parties, shooting at motorcades -- the Rastafarians said they have encountered only
acceptance from Jamaicans.
"Within Rasta concept, the hungry be fed, the naked clothed, the sick nourished," said Ascento
Ammanuel Foxe, 65, president of the federation.
Foxe, a bearded philosopher who wears a medallion with Selassie's image around his neck,
estimated there are as many as 400,000 Rastafarians in Jamaica, a figure others said was much
too high.
Smoking marijuana is common among Rastafarians and if they ever gain a foothold in
Parliament, the party would try to modify Jamaica's law to decriminalize marijuana use.
don't want you to smoke in public."
Despite their slim chances for victory, the Rastafarians seem undeterred, saying their growing
party will field candidates in all 60 constituencies next election.