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Is it proper for artistes to endorse politicians? A review of Youth Café on KTN, April 28

By David Mwenda

My weekend normally starts with something easy and fun to watch. Normally it is The Trend’s Trending Talkers or any other thing. However, this time I decided to try something new (that is what we always say, right?).

I am not saying that The Trend is not a serious show — I respect Larry a lot; he has done his best to make it where he is.

This time I decided to watch the Youth Café on KTN. The show had an interesting discussion on the people who keep us entertained vis-a-vis our leaders and politicians. Are they supposed to work together or should they abstain from supporting each other?

Let us not compare Kenyan and USA politics

I thought the discussion was one that was accurate and right. However, the hosts need to draw the line when they have this discussion.  I thought they started the discussion on the wrong footing. For starters, they need to make sure they have appreciated the realities that Kenyan are in. Though they have a large following and are seen as influential figures in Kenya, they cannot be compared to the influence of USA influential figures and musicians in America.

From a statistical point of view, even though musicians come out to support our politicians in Kenya, they do not seem to change a politician’s numbers.

In 2013, Jaguar came out to support the UhuRuto campaign. However, his role was only seen as an entertainment role and he was part of a plan to sell a digital and youthful president. Though they managed to do this, it was the workings of a strong PR machine which managed to pull the youthful look of the president.

Here is where I draw the line. In America, artistes and influential figure have a religious following on their own. Also, they have the presence of a strong democracy and two main political parties which are there constantly there.

When the artistes say they want to support someone, they seem to influence their followers and they buy their beliefs. For example when Obama was endorsed by Oprah, Jay Z and Kanye West, it increased the popularity of his candidature. They did not have to be coerced. They seemed to like the guy and they seemed to support his candidature honestly and they seemed to be concerned about the country’s growth.

It is all about the money

This seems to be the thing that makes sense in Kenya. It is very rare to hear the voice of musicians to talk about the things that seem to be affecting the country. They seem to only care about the paycheck and not the people and eventually the country. They seem to be inclined to only performing and they do not want anything else in the long run. They do not want to be seen as political that is why most of them cannot even voice their political stands or the parties they back in the country.

The discussion was a trendsetter and it is an eyeopener for our artistes. They make sure they have the right thoughts and motives in order not to misguide their supporters. The media is right to make sure they hold this discussion with them and ask why they are supporting these artistes.

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