How musicians reaped hefty windfall during campaign season
A number of Kenyan artistes made a killing out of the campaign music they composed for politicians.
The songs kept the politicians’ names on the minds of voters ahead of the General Election.
The danceable tunes praised the candidates and saw many musicians earn hefty sums of money.
In May, gospel artiste Ben Githae set the trend when he released ‘Uhuru na Ruto Tano Tena’, which praised the Jubilee administration. The song went on to become the coalition’s anthem.
Onyi Jalamo recorded ‘Nasa Tibim’ and the hit became the opposition coalition’s anthem.
Other artistes joined in and took advantage of the campaign fever to make money for themselves.
In central Kenya, campaign songs were the in-thing. Almost each candidate had their own song that basically praised them and portrayed them as better choices for the electorate compared to their opponents.
Some of the songs that boomed along the streets were “No wira tu”, a campaign song for Murang’a Governor Mwangi wa Iria, who sought re-election on a Jubilee ticket.
The song was recorded by artiste Simon Kinyua, popularly known by his stage name Syck Junior.
Some of the musicians who spoke to the Nation said a single song cost a politician between Sh50,000 and Sh100,000.
Syck Junior said he did five campaign songs for different candidates.
The ‘Mama wa Kambo’ hitmaker recorded two songs for President Uhuru Kenyatta’s campaign. The two were ‘Tokelezea’ and ‘Jubilee’, which were used by various groups to campaign for the Jubilee Party leader’s re-election.
“We charged between Sh50,000 and Sh100,000 for each song depending on the candidate and the position they were vying for,” he said.
The songs, according to the musician, were in most cases prerecorded and pitched to the candidates who would decide whether or not to buy them.
“It was purely business. We made the songs and sold them to the politicians. Simply because we sang for someone did not mean we supported them politically,” he said.
In Nyeri, Mr Wambugu Nyamu, a first-time politician who vied for a Senate seat, said the music worked in the leaders’ favour as the tunes would keep ringing in the electorates’ minds.
“The payment depended on what you agreed on with the politician. He could pay in installments during the electioneering period,” said Peter Rukungu, a musician who composed and recorded a song for the Senate candidate.