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Drama: Akothee’s performance at Ruma Park angers Homa Bay musician

The Homa Bay County government’s decision to make musician Esther Akoth, aka Akothee, the headliner at a conservation event over the weekend has not gone down well with some local musicians who have accused the county government of failing to support them.

Homa Bay hosted a two-day event at Ruma National Park starting on Friday, May 5, 2023, with various activities focusing on the conservation of the roan antelope.

Akothee’s marketing of the Roan Antelope marathon, scheduled for Saturday at Ruma National Park, brought Homa Bay town to a standstill. PHOTO| GEORGE ODIWUOR

Also read: Newly wed Akothee brings Homa Bay to a standstill

Participants competed for prizes in a 21-kilometer race and enjoyed musical performances, including a notable appearance by Akothee, the event’s brand ambassador.

However, her presence in Homa Bay was not welcomed by all.

Mr Tom Ngaga, aka Atommy Sifa, accused Governor Gladys Wanga’s administration of turning its back on local artistes, including himself.

According to the musician, he was aware of the event and had tried to contact the department responsible for planning it.

“No one has responded to my calls. It is a shame that I was left out when I am just as influential,” Atommy Sifa told Nairobi News.

In addition to Akothee, the county government had invited some up-and-coming artists.

But that did not convince Sifa, who argued that the devolved unit should have included established musicians like himself.

“I can draw a crowd just like Akothee. Since the government was on a mission to create awareness, they should have invited people like me to participate in the event,” Sifa said.

Also read: Akothee: Dear Peninah Malonza, consultant me on tourism growth

Homabay’s finest Atommy Sifa. PHOTO| COURTESY

According to the musician, politics may have played a role in his plight.

During the 2022 campaign for the Homa Bay governorship, Sifa composed two songs for Governor Wanga and her arch-rival, former Nairobi governor Evans Kidero.

Ms Wanga’s song was called Odiso Lady Lady, while Kidero’s was called Kidero pek chalo kido (Kidero is as heavy as a boulder).

Both songs were used by the two politicians in their campaign caravan.

“I was intimidated from both sides as to why I had sung for one candidate or the other. I was in a dilemma, but I was just doing my job,” said Sifa.

He urged the county government to adopt a new strategy when organising a similar event.

“Let them include different artists in their events. Nobody will feel left out,” Sifa said.

According to him, politics should not be used to stop him from achieving his dreams.

He added that he uses music to educate and feed his children and that sidelining him will make his family suffer.

Also read: Akothee: A woman of many titles

County government spokesperson Rachel Oguttu defended Governor Wanga’s administration, saying the musician did not apply to perform at the event.

“Artists were supposed to make a formal application and pay a fee to perform at the event. No one saw Atommy’s application,” she said.

According to County government spokesperson Rachel Oguttu, Governor Wanga’s administration was justified in selecting Akothee to promote Ruma National Park as the musician is widely recognized.

However, Oguttu also stated that the government did not receive an application from Akothee to perform at the event.

Ms Oguttu added that the county government needed to market Ruma National Park and the choice of selecting Akothee was the best.

She said the musician is known for engaging in tourism activities and having her at the event was of more significance.

“We were targeting a particular audience being that we were promoting Ruma National Park at the National level,” Ms Oguttu said.

Also read: Akothee mourns ‘death’ of Luo culture