Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Tugutuke Artistes Picking up the Pieces

In the run up to last year’s polls, I opined that the head-on plunge into active politics by a number of our artistes was misguided. As it turned out, the whole lot was walloped, sometimes literally. They are now dusting up as they pick up the pieces from a battle badly executed and are seeking to establish their relevance on the national arena once again.

The Vijana Tugutuke movement, under which they mobilized massive youth activity, seems to have scattered to the four winds or else taken a muted low profile. Or perhaps they have, as kindred political spirits would say, just made a tactical retreat to fight another day.

And the operative word is ‘fight’. That is the language of the degenerate local politics that they so desired to join. Fight with fists, stones, chairs. Mongolo, the last man standing, can attest that they will need to abandon their professional civility and instead cultivate a barbaric mien to survive in the man-eat-man jungle.

John ‘KJ’ Kiarie suffered physical harassment from hired gangs during the electioneering period and had a few of his bones broken. He had to be ferried by an ambulance to present his nomination papers to the electoral commission. The sad irony in his case is that the hoodlums who thumped him were the very target audience that Vijana Tugutuke sought to engage in bringing about change. And despite the project taking credit for increasing voter registration of the youth by upwards of 1million, their icons all lost in the ensuing contests. KJ in Dagoretti, Kajairo in Kasarani, Mdomo Baggy in Kamkunji, KingKong in Embakasi. Nyambane was initially expected to run for the Westlands seat but I suppose he wizened up just in time.

King Kong struggled without success to raise funds for paying party nomination fees. He died after the polls though the two events may not be necessarily linked.

Kajairo is putting out little fires lit up everywhere by the media who keep running stories that he’s broke after raiding his ‘piggy bank’ to finance his campaign. He has now, together with Nyambane, joined the Nation Media Group as hosts on the newly launched QFM radio station.

KJ is in court challenging the election of Beth Mugo with one of his petition grounds stating that she referred to him as “a joker who should be cracking jokes in the street”. In an exchange with Mugo’s lawyer, KJ insisted that he is an artiste and that any reference to him as a comedian is in bad faith.

Clearly, the brief incursion into politics has taken its toll on the artistes. And as they work to overcome the setbacks they suffered, one hopes that some valuable lessons were learnt from the experiment. One of which, I hope, will be that the murky and highly fluid arena that is Kenyan politics is not appropriate for advancing social change. In joining the fray, Kajairo was quoted saying that “We have a responsibility as entertainers. We cannot sit and watch things go wrong. Everything is determined by leadership”. Really?

I still insist that Comedian KJ is many times more likely to inspire change from his Redykyulass stage than “Mheshimiwa” Kiarie ever will. They will quickly lose their force and credibility as change agents as soon as they get hooked on the “Honorable” trappings.


Shiko-Msa said...

And Nyambane is advertising toilet soap.

Mcheku said...

Now Shiko that is just plain mean!!

Anonymous said...

KJs petition was thrown out of court I dont remember why. It was such a bore to see them campaign. Who will ever believe in their jokes again? See how well Churchill is doing now? We need fresh blood in comedy

Anonymous said...

The court ruled that he had not adduced sufficient/credible evidence to support his prayers. And now the fellow seems to be fighting for relevance, trotting around the country with the unending ODM homecoming-party makers. Or the party hustlers like Ndolo with whom he ganged up to incite hapless muthurwa folks into an early morning no-win battle against the cops.

I wish KJ could re-invent himself. He is quite a talent.

joyunspeakable said...

all so true. KJ, Kajairo and mdomo baggy all lost it when they followed greener pastures....which were not green after all