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Teams at the Kenya Music Festival decry graft, social ills

By George Orido and Kevine Omollo | August 5th 2015

Young musicians at the ongoing Kenya Music Festival have a strong and candid message to Kenyans – corruption destroys their future.

This message was a common thread in performances at Kisumu Girls' High School in the elocution category where participants stressed the need for leaders to embrace integrity and avoid tribalism and favouritism.

"You borrow the earth from us, you must bring it back in a better shape that you found it," went part of the verse from Utafiti Primary School that earned them a standing ovation.

Sirio Academy from Mombasa performs a choral verse at the music festival in Kisumu.  (PHOTO:TITUS MUNALA AND GEORGE ORIDO)

Springboard Academy from Busia Country recited Mizaha by Allan Chahasi. It depicts a society that has lost its values and social morals.

The poem decries corruption in the church, public offices and schools.

"Mbegu ya kanisani ni yanini? Mbegu ni ya shamba, Kanisa tafadhali acha ukafiri," (Seeds are for the farm not the church. Please cleanse the church from hedonism) went part of the verse.

And Lake Region Alego Primary School frowned on discrimination and favouritism where jobs, opportunities and places in society are secured not on merit, but through bribery and nepotism.

Nyapora Primary School diagnosed the society as having been riddled with bad politics where truth and decency has been thrown out the window while cronyism has taken centre stage.

St Mary's Primary School pleaded with the audience to live a virtuous life.

Other schools that performed in the category included Chris Academy Mombasa, Kemba Primary, Gatoto Primary, Wangunyu Primary Kings Brigade Primary, Moi University Primary and GSU Primary School from Nairobi.

Springboard came first, Utafiti second and St Marys third in this class of elocution.

Earlier in the same venue, schools from different parts of the country battled it out in a hotly contested Pokot and Teso folk songs with little-known Tompul Primary School emerging tops beating favourites Lokichang and the neighbours Kodich Boarding and Kodich AIC Primary Schools.

The class, popularly known as the high octane, was a thrill. Teams resplendent in Pokot traditional attire came on stage and left the audience asking for more.

"Kodich did a good job, but they introduced Karamojong in their dance, that's where they faulted a bit," explained an adjudicator.

Some groups also came with drums yet it is known that Pokots do not use drums in their music.

These were comments to indicate what the festival does as part of its objectives is to sustain the pure cultural form that define diversity across the country.

Yet in another colourful class of African folk songs from the Somali, Boran and Nubian communities, Marralal Primary School scored the highest mark of 89 per cent followed by Ayany Primary School from Nairobi and Ol Jogi Primary School with 88 and 87 marks respectively.

Adjudicator Eveline Mushira noted that it was a good thing that the Nubian dances debuted at the festival.

"The Nubians are part and parcel of our community and it is gratifying that they not only rendered a great dance, it was also  the first time and this, I hope, should continue," she said.

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