With a General Election stashed somewhere around the corner, marriages of convenience between politicians and musicians are re-emerging. Can our artistes survive the potentially career-killing lure of the moneybags? CAROLINE NYANGA and GEOFFREY KORIO find out.
Before the mammoth crowd gathered at the Kenyatta International Conference Centre (KICC) that Sunday afternoon, sensational gospel star Ringtone took to the stage to belt out his popular song Talanta Yangu, which features Maji Maji.
The National Alliance (TNA) launch had been a highly hyped affair and there, amidst politicians and their supporters, the gospel singer stood tall and ready to stir the moment.
A day prior to the event, it is understood that the man of the moment, Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, had requested Ringtone to feature because he is a crowd-puller. It was a last minute choice as money exchanged hands among leading stables and artistes who wanted a share of the political windfall.
Even though no one is willing to disclose the finer details, Kigeugeu hit maker Jaguar, Genge Godfather Nonini, diminutive Size 8 and Chantelle are said to have turned down the offer, before the organisers settled for P Unit, Jua Cali and Ringtone, who were paid Sh200,000, each for their performance.
Amidst the animated applause and wild ululations, Uhuru Kenyatta and Eugene Wamalwa — both politicians of national stature — joined Ringtone in song and dance with the TNA slogan renting the air.
This may have been taken to mean Ringtone was endorsing Uhuru; something that artistes who had given the ceremony a wide-berth, feared to be associated with.
“I was invited there as a musician and equally as Uhuru’s and Eugene’s friend. As a gospel artiste whose music has managed to cross over to the secular world, I felt that this was a perfect opportunity to use my song to minister,” Ringtone defended his actions when Pulse reached him for comment.
guys in the big deals
“I wasn’t trying to endorse TNA and it is not that I have taken sides with any political leader. I would do the same if another presidential candidate invited me. It is a win-win situation,” he added.
As the political wind sweeps across the land with the next General Election somewhere around the corner, political party strategists are banking on top entertainers as a ploy to woo the youth into their respective camps.
In fact, politicians and musicians started ironing out the deals last year when Jaguar, Juliani and Daddy Owen, as well as Ogopa Deejays were approached with whooping seven figure cash offers.