Kenya’s musical fraternity gathered at the Nyayo Stadium on 21st April for the MCSK Nairobi region elections. Divided into 6 regions with Nairobi accommodating the most number of members, the position of Director was to go to two persons. With 763 votes, the members protested that the MCSK organization is very secretive with cartels controlling it.
Cartels were the main villains according to the musicians whereby only those that were ‘known’ and popular enough to know people benefited from MCSK. The grass root musicians whose music played mostly in local stations never reaped any benefits.
Singer Pilipili who has been a member of the MCSK for 12 years said;
“The MCSK has money, however, the main issue with MCSK is cartels. Only the big artists are paid.” He added, “Most of the money in MCSK goes to their expenditures. These are trips to their meetings and sitting allowances. The employees are also paid more than the musicians, who are the stake holders!”
Pilipili together with other artists are very bitter as to what is happening in the MCSK however, they are hopeful for better days to come.
It also emerged that people voted on account of knowing each other and very few of the ten candidates presented manifestos to the artistes. Guess work and you know me played a major role in the election. To the admittance of some artistes, they had no knowledge of most of the candidates and knew nothing about them .their main aim was to cast in their vote and leave with the hope of a better future.
During the elections, the voters were kept out of the loop where the voting was been counted and alleged rigging takes place.
Bribery is a big issue where many are approached on the lines and paid off to vote in the ‘best’ candidate. Whatever the case may be, the various artists demanded transparency to enter the voting room so as to make sure no rigging was taking place.
“We will stand here until the results are announced” Influx Swagga said “We need to fagia these corrupt people.”
Many stood out in the sun with no food for hours in wait for the results, with hopes for a change.
“We are in dire need of change; the corruption in the society has increased.”
A few years ago artists used to receive a yearly pay of Ksh.10,000 however, in recent years, they have not received anything.
“Where has that money gone?” Mary Atieno, a gospel singer asked, “Sisi kama wasanii tunakufa moyo sana.”
Riveroad versus Uptown Artists
It was also evident the egotistic nature of most urban and popular artists as they turned out in low numbers and when they did, skipped queues to vote and leave. Even among themselves, they had no unity and ended up differing on whom to vote in to represent their interests.
Each of the nominees had their support either in the uptown or Riveroad. However there is strength in numbers as many Riveroad artists turned out to vote.
“All of us as artists need to come together. Like in America, they all came to support each other in the release of Tidal, we should do the same here and fight against the cartels” Influx Swagga said when asked about the division. “We must all realize we are fighting the same fight.”
Results are announced
Having waited the whole day, with people coming in as early as 7am At 6pm MCSK chairman, James Gitumbi Kamau announced to the people the two new directors.
Gacheru and Mwalimu Njenga. Many danced and rejoiced upon the appointment of Mwalimu, saying at least the Riveroad artists have a voice.
However others were vocal to say that none of the nominees have the heart to serve just yet and are still waiting for better leaders.
The exact votes were;
Gacheru – 203
Mwalimu – 219
Makali Baraza – 119
Getanda – 67
Lady Bee – 48
Frasha – 35
Kiratu – 20
Mucheru – 7
This also brought up the question, with 763 votes, 9 spoiled and 3600 registered artists in the Nairobi region, where were the other artists??