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Vernacular musicians reap big in Azimio, UDA poll campaigns

By Justus Karanja

It’s the harvesting season for vernacular musicians in Kenya as political actors seeking to improve their standings in the eyes of the electorate ahead of the August 9 General Election seek their services.

Top on the list of politicians seeking services of secular or vernacular musicians are the leading presidential aspirants – ODM leader Raila Odinga and Deputy President William Ruto.

During the launch of the Azimio la Umoja initiative at Kasarani Stadium in December, the ODM fraternity sought the services of Kisii-born Christopher Nyangwara Mosioma aka Embarambamba to light up the event.

Another upcoming musician, TK Mario Kasela alias Trio Mo, a high school student, had days to the Azimio event released a short video in which he urged Kenyans to turn up for the political event in which Raila was expected to announce his presidential bid.

Trio Mo has recently hogged media headlines for his Sipangwingwi hit which has since raked in a million views on YouTube in less than two weeks.

He performed at the Kasarani Stadium Azimio event.

And recently during the Kakamega’s Bukhungu II event convened by Central Organisation of Trade Unions (COTU) Secretary General, Francis Atwoli, one such musician stood out.

Emmanuel Musindi of the famed Lelo ni Lelo Luhya hit song crowned the moment of the day with a moving performance as Raila made his way into the stadium.

In fact, when Raila stood to speak, he implored the event’s DJs to play his song rather than Azimio La Umoja’s theme song.

“Stop causing confusion. I want you to play Lelo ni Lelo,” said Raila as he immediately broke into dance soon as the popular hit was played.

But it is Ruto who has upped the game, with special focus on the vote rich Mt Kenya region.

The Deputy President has reportedly tasked one of his close allies, businessman David Langat, to win over Kikuyu musicians to his side.

Langat has been wooing key musicians, Radio and TV personalities, comedians and influencers in Mt Kenya region to back Ruto’s presidential bid. According to one Kikuyu musician, the Mombasa-based billionaire is reportedly promising payment ranging from Sh3million to Sh3 million for top musicians able to compose songs that can win over

More Kikuyu voters to support Ruto’s presidential bid.

Kikuyu musicians who have openly declared support for the Deputy President in the August 9 General Election  include Muigai Wa Njoroge (pictured) and gospel musician Ngaruiya Junior.

The Kikuyu celebrities who have openly declared support for Ruto in the presidential race include Mc Jessy, Njogu Njoroge (defected to UDA), Ann Wamuratha, Loise Kim, Ngaruiya Junor, Njugush, Sir James and Pastor JJ.

Others expected to join UDA include Samuel Muchoki, Jose Gatutura, Joyce Wa Mama, media personalities Francis Gachuri, Njoroge Wa Githinji, Karangu Muraya, Mzima Mzima, Betty Bayo, Kamoko, Size 8, Dj Moh and Henry Desagu.

While some of them are eyeing elective seats on UDA ticket in the General Election, the others are being hired to offer their professional services since they are known to pull large crowds.

The same trend was witnessed after the March 9, 2018 handshake between Uhuru and Raila.

Secular musicians reaped big by composing songs either in support or opposition to the initiative.

On the firing line was Ruto, as songs were composed, mainly by musicians from Central Kenya, trashing his presidential ambition. 

One popular Kikuyu musician from Kiambu even released a song urging Mt Kenya voters not to back Ruto's presidential bid.

 In the viral track dubbed Hatuna Deni, Kitaeleweka, which loosely translates to 'we owe no one any debt, we must get to the bottom of this', the musician, Kimani Turacco, says Kenyans had forgiven but they could not forget the atrocities done to them in 2007/2008 where Ruto was one of those charged at ICC with crimes against humanity.

In the song the musician alluded to the incident in which tens of Kikuyus were burned alive inside a church in Kiambaa, Eldoret North, which was then represented in Parliament by Ruto.

The musician reminded his audience that the place called Kiambaa remains a monument to evil as it is where suspected arsonists set a church on fire, burning to death 36 people including women and children.

Another popular artiste, Joseph Onyango Ochieng popularly known as “Engineer” Onyi Jalamo, famed for NASA’s Tibiim song composed one in praise of Uhuru’s handshake with Raila.

Onyango, whose song, Raila Tibiim, ruled the airwaves and became NASA’s campaign anthem, says his new song, RaiUhuru Tibiim, was informed by the political truce between Raila and the President.

In RaiUhuru Tibiim, Onyango sings about the political unity that changed the country’s politics.


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