2020 has arguably been one of the best years for music. Many artists have released projects, and Kenyans are playing local music more than ever. However, it has seen the same political patterns in Kenya, with many scandals that have prompted public outcries, such as police brutality and many corruption cases.
In the past, musicians did not mix music and politics, probably due to fear of the repercussions. The era of social media has changed that, and musicians – who have a large following on these platforms- are now actively speaking out more, expressing their personal views on the government scandals, corrupt civil servants, and the nation's state in general.
Late last year, Kennedy Ombima alias King Kaka released the song 'Wajinga Nyinyi', which pointed out government scandals, corruption, and ridiculed Kenyans for being poor voters. The song went viral, stirring up mixed emotions among the youth, and had the hashtag #WajingaNyinyi trending on Twitter.
However, the song also put him in a hot spot after he claimed he got calls from people in power who he had rubbed off the wrong way. Kirinyaga Governor Ann Waiguru even sued him for defamation of character.
Earlier this week, King Kaka had his say on Twitter after the death of a 28-year-old doctor who succumbed to Covid-19. His tweet ridiculed the government for prioritizing the BBI report instead of the current Covid-19 situation. "Good Morning world, we as Kenya are proud to introduce out Corona vaccine by the name of BBI. Forced public injections start immediately."
Boy band Sauti Sol also had their say over the BBI, tweeting 'ENYEWE BBI IS A NO GO ZONE'.
Muthoni Drama Queen
MDQ, as she is popularly known, has recently been quite vocal on what she terms a failed political system in the country.
"If you are on my timeline insulting me because I told you all the politicians of Kenya are the same, you are a fool. Uhuru, Ruto, Raila & their respective senators, governors, MCAs, MPs, lawyers, deal makers are ALL THE SAME. No exceptions. Wake up dummy."
Earlier this year, rapper Nyashinski spoke on police brutality in Kenya. He recounted how he has also been a victim of police harassment and how he has also lost friends due to police brutality.
"Police brutality and murders have become so bad and common here in Kenya. It pains me deeply. I've been harassed by cops, my friends have been harassed and I've even lost friends to police bullets and my story is not unique," he wrote on Instagram.
The rapper from Kibera has constantly been criticizing the government in interviews and through social media. In his most recent tv interview, Octo called out the government for not helping people in slums during the Covid-19 period. He has also criticized the lack of investment in arts, which, according to him, is straining the industry.
Musicians into politics?
Perhaps it is time to see musicians enter politics. However, many say this is not a solution as we have seen musicians enter politics but not changed much, such as Starehe M.P Charles Njagua alias Jaguar.