young kenyans rebel against corruption: artist muthoni shares her take on the situation

March 9, 2017

Much to our delight, Nairobi-based singer/rapper/drummer Muthoni Drummer Queenteamed up with Swiss producer Greg “GR!” Escoffey and Jean “HOOK” Geissbuhler for this socio-politically charged hip-hop anthem “Kenyan Message”. MDQ tells us a little more about the banger’s message: “Kenya is a really frustrating experience right now. We are divided among two core lines- the political class-, using their public positions to acquire wealth for themselves, and, the rest of Kenya, who the political class keeps trying to divide and conquer along tribal lines. You cannot be of the reasonable mind and not feel thoroughly angry at the situation in Kenya.

Just 1 day after Kenyan Message dropped, it was authoritatively reported that in 2016 alone, 900 individuals managed to cross the million-dollar line in a year in which nearly half of the Nairobi Security Exchange (NSE)-listed companies reported sharp drops in profits leading to massive job losses. Besides, more than 2.2 million small enterprises closed shop in the last five years, underlining the tough business environment in the country. It is now common to see frustrated young people on the highways during peak hour holding up ‘please employ me, I am a graduate” signs. The gap between the rich and poor has widened with the top 10% richest person’s average earnings at more than 100 times the poorest 15%.

This amidst a never-ending tragicomedy of scandal after scandal involving the looting of public funds, to name a few: The youth fund lost Ksh 115,000,000 meant to spur youth enterprise and Ksh 791M meant for the National Youth Service. No arrests, no one in jail, no tracing of money. My personal tipping point came in October 2016 when an audit revealed that Ksh 5.3B was missing from the Ministry of Health, money that was meant to amongst others, fund critical programs such as the free maternity scheme. (Read more)

Frustrated by the government’s unwillingness to implement the Comprehensive Bargaining Agreement (CBA) of 2013 which, among other things, increases medical practitioners pay, and significantly improves the provision of hospital services through investments in the public healthcare system, the doctors went on strike, tired of “sanctioning death” in the various facilities in which they operate due to inadequate/absent equipment and medication. Part of the intimidation tactics since the strike include leading a smear campaign/misinformation campaign, threatening to fire all doctors and bring in some from other countries and jailing the leaders of the doctors union. As of March 7th, 93days after the strike, a deal was struck by the mediators that would have the government commit to fulfilling the CBA. 6 hours later, the president addressing the Governors declared that the doctors are “blackmailing” the county and that they must immediately return to work or else! , Basically squashing the deal. It’s critical to note that neither the president nor any member of the political class actually uses public health care facilities. We, the Kenyans were in fact reminded clearly by the Cabinet Secretary of Treasury that if the doctors in public hospitals were paid as much as private hospitals, then private hospitals would close down. Can you believe that crap?

Kenyan Message is connecting so deeply because in 4 months, Kenyans are going into an election. The first thing Kenyan Message does is to give the people of Kenya, particularly the youth the words and the creativity to say what we all know is wrong. We don’t speak our minds here. We are too afraid to be singled out. I want to use this song to make a case for the idea that there is US the Kenyans and there is THEM the politicians. None of them care about us. We are only remembered or needed every 5 years when they need to prolong their tenure to maintain their eating spree. I cite politically neutral situations currently being experienced e.g. joblessness, the current national drought that could have been averted, the doctor’s strike as a means to show every Kenyan that NO MEMBER of the political class deserves our attention let alone our support. Third, to remind Kenyans we have power. We are the power! I am asking Kenyans to get in formation, like other people across the world fighting to change corrupt, inept leadership. Understand we have the power and utilize that power,” says Muthoni Drummer Queen.

Check out “Kenyan Message”, below.

DOP: David Baumann/Artaban TV
Editor: Baptiste Jehan
MUA: Noelia De Jesus
Dancers: Tali Cabral & Daniela Dias
Drummer: Felix Fivaz