Song of change as 11 celebs bet on 2022 ballot

Creative artistes in the industry now believe the time has come for youth advocating for change to make their voices heard. [Courtesy]

Francis Amisi alias Frasha has been singing all his adult life, a career that had him quit his medical profession six years ago.

Together with Gabriel Kagundu alias Gabu, and Boniface Chege alias Bon-Eye, they make the Kenyan singing trio that has shaken the continental music scene, winning numerous regional awards including two Channel O Music Video Awards.

Songs like You Guy, Una, Kare, Wagenge Hao, Dat Dendai and Weka Weka made them a household name.

Back in Mavoko town, Machakos County, where Frasha was brought up, he is viewed as a role model for the youth, with whom he has been partnering on several projects, most of which he runs through his foundation.

Frasha is now going into politics. After making a false start in 2017, the celebrated star has thrown his hat in the ring again.

He is vying for Athi River Town Member of County Assembly (MCA) and believes that the time has come for the youth to make their voices heard right from inside the power pot.

“In my opinion, the current government has done well in most sectors, but has also had its fair share of problems. I believe we (artistes) need to get into politics as the more numbers of youth representation we get in positions of power, the bigger voice we have,” he says, adding that poverty among the youth is an issue that needs to be tackled urgently.

He is not the only creative who is aspiring for leadership. In fact, there has never been a time when so many creatives, especially youth, have shown so much interest in elective political positions.

One month ago, popular emcee (MC) and radio presenter Felix Odiwour aka Jalang’o launched his bid for the Lang’ata parliamentary seat. He has since hit the ground running. Jalang’o will be vying against, among others, the incumbent Nixon Korir.

“I know this journey is not going to be an easy one. It has to be a calling, where one puts his all, and I am ready to go the whole way. We are in this to win it. There are no two ways about it,” said Jalang’o during a fundraising organised by his counterpart Jasper Muthomi aka MC Jessy, who has his eyes on the South Imenti Constituency seat in Meru.

Emcee and radio presenter Felix Odiwour aka Jalang’o. [Courtesy]

After a fundraising event held at Safari Park Hotel in Nairobi, MC Jessy, a career journalist and the most popular face of the Churchill Live TV comedy show, headed to Meru with a group of friends, among them Jalang’o, Frasha, Davidson Ngibuini aka DNG, and his former fellow radio host Alex Mwakideu where they had a meet-and-greet ceremony.

Asked what piqued his interest in venturing into politics while at the peak of his corporate emceeing career, MC Jessy was clear about his cause.

“The people of Imenti South have decided they want me to be their servant because that is what a leader is to his people. I am answering that call. I had a humble upbringing and I can relate with the issues that need to be tackled from a leadership and political position,” he told the Saturday Standard.

“On a national scale, I have been in entertainment for years and I understand that there are grave issues that need to be addressed. That is part of what I will be pushing in Parliament,” said MC Jessy, adding that Kenyan creatives have been suffering over the years.

The celebrated MC believes the solution is in a Bill he wants to see tabled in Parliament, which he has dubbed the ‘Creative Economy Bill’, and which will push for the creation of a Creative Economy Council.

According to MC Jessy, the proposed Bill will ensure each artiste gets an identity through registration of their content.

“It will create policies and enforcement plans that promote the Kenyan creative sector, including ensuring that over 60 per cent of the content played on our airwaves is local. This is how we will address the root problems affecting us. The answer is not with politicians promising to open saccos for artistes to borrow money from. Unless they are empowered, how will they pay it back?” he posed.

DNG, a musician, MC and activist is aspiring for the Woodley Kenyatta Gold Course Ward.

“I decided the time for change is now because we absolutely have no representation as young people, we do not have a voice and we do need a voice,” said DNG during an interview with Spice FM this week.

He added that, “From a youth perspective, there are many other things that are affecting our communities that nobody is talking about. For instance where I come from, as you walk down the road you find heaps and heaps of garbage… when you look at sewage, sanitation and cleanliness in our market; crime and basic patrols, you realise these issues need to be tackled.”

Former TV host, Mwanaisha Chidzuga, is vying for the Matuga Parliamentary seat under the tag ‘MamaNaKazi’.

Mwanaisha Chidzuga is vying for the Matuga Parliamentary seat. [Courtesy]

Chidzuga believes that youthful political representation will help in passing laws that touch on the youth population, which she says is underrepresented.

The former TV anchor said the youth agenda in her Matuga Constituency will be given top priority, as much as she is also rooting for better articulation of women issues.

“I believe it is a time when everyone can believe in leaders who have the people at heart. The youth should be part of this process. We should be right where the decisions are made so that our voices are heard. We are here and well-educated, ready to serve our country. We do not have to wait for tomorrow to do this,” she said.

Roy Smith Mwita aka Rufftone shocked many when he declared he was running for the Nairobi senatorial seat about a month ago. Many expected him to vie in his Kakamega hometown, where they perceived he would easily be accepted as a new political entrant.

In response, Rufftone wondered why he should go back all the way to Western Kenya yet he has been raised in Nairobi, where he feels that he is more needed when it comes to leadership.

According to him, the country is largely managed from the capital city, and it is time it gets youthful leaders.

“We have grown here and one would wonder why we are running from the capital city to go look for votes elsewhere. Our input is expected here. Nairobi is not only youthful, but also needs actions that are fresh and different from the way things have been done before,” said Rufftone.

“We need a change of mindset when it comes to youth and employment, corruption, poverty, industrialisation and even education. These are some of the issues I want to oversee,” he added.

East Africa’s entertainment hub, Nairobi, seems to be having more entertainers looking forward to running its affairs. In Kibra, a number of creatives are rumoured to be making their political attempts, including Grandpa Records CEO Yusuf Noah aka Refigah, as well as Dohty Family CEO Kriss Darlin.

“I will be making a big announcement this month. You can go ahead to speculate what this will be. The fact is that I am quitting showbiz and taking a different direction in life. I have been working with the people of Kibra as an insider and volunteer for years. You know where the conversation is going,” said Refigah when asked when he would be making his political declaration.

While Hubert Nakitare aka Nonini wants to be Mathare Constituency MP, Jackson Makini aka CMB Prezzo is eyeing the Westlands parliamentary seat. CMB Prezzo’s fellow former Big Brother Africa (BBA) Kenyan representative Millicent Boina, who is the current MCA of Ziwani Ward in Nairobi is also on the race.

Hubert Nakitare aka Nonini wants to be Mathare Constituency MP. [Courtesy]

“I believe creatives who have joined politics have ignited change on issues concerning the youth. Their track record will help more get voted come 2022,” said Boina, who hinted that she might be vying for a bigger seat in the coming elections.

Boina said it is encouraging to see more artistes joining politics, noting that as voices representing the youth generation, they stand out as the ideal engines for change.

The same wave of youthful change hit Uganda during last year’s general election when dancehall singer Kyagulanyi Ssantamu alias Bobi Wine led the youth into a political revolution after declaring to challenge President Yoweri Museveni’s rule of 35 years.

With his National Unity Platform (NUP) party, Bobi Wine ran for the presidency, with his party sponsoring youthful candidates, many of whom are now in Parliament.

Even though under the National Resistance Movement (NRM) Museveni triumphed getting 58.38 per cent of the presidential poll against Bobi’s 35.05 per cent, the impact of a youthful political wave was felt.

Bobi has since sworn to match on and his party has maintained an underground movement, scheming for ways to win power come the next polls. One month ago, a relentless Bobi Wine released a new song in which he seems to warn the president that he might leave office at the barrel of a gun.

“... those who kill by bullets could follow suit... the guns you use to kill people could take you the very way they brought you,” goes the song.

Still closer in Tanzania last year, artistes were on the frontline supporting the late President John Magufuli’s re-election.

Top artistes such as Naseeb Juma (Diamond Platnumz), Rajab Kahali (Harmonize), Raymond Mwakyusa (Rayvanny) and Zuhura Othman (Zuchu) composed political songs in Magufuli’s support in an election that could only be won through a youth-vote wave.

Magufuli won and as expected, a number of creatives, among them rapper Mwana FA, as well as Diamond Platnumz’s manager Babu Tale, were voted in. A number of creatives were rewarded with positions in government. What is currently sweeping through Kenya is a wave that started during the 2007 general elections through the Vijana Tugutuke movement by the likes of John Kiarie who led a number of creatives into parliament.

The second round of creatives that includes Charles Kanyi aka Jaguar followed in 2017. As it would be, the windows of change seem unstoppable. It is now a windfall.