By JOSPHINE MOSONGO and SYLVANIA AMBANI
Actors play politicians on the big and small screens, artistes express their political opinions in music but few make the transition in real life.
But this year, a number of them have thrown their hats into the ring and will vie for various elective seats in the August 8 General Election.
Rapper Frasha, whose real name is Francis Hamisi, for instance, wears many hats.
Before he began his music career, he was a trained physiotherapist and worked at Aga Khan Hospital.
However, in 2011 he quit and began to pursue a career in music. Today, he is considered a successful musician who is part of the award winning group P-Unit.
He runs a charity, ‘I Am Frasha Foundation,’ a platform he uses to try and make a difference in the lives of the less fortunate, by providing wheelchairs and tuk tuks among other things.
“My foundation has been involved in charities across the country from Mombasa, Eldoret, Nakuru, and Turkana to other towns. I hadn’t done much in Athi River and that really bothered me,” says Hamisi who grew up in Athi River and wants to be area ward representative.
MUSICIANS HAVE INFLUENCE
Hamisi says musicians have influence, which naturally makes them leaders.
He plans to tackle issues such as water supply, pollution, youth unemployment, health and education.
According to the artiste, the popularity that he enjoys is tool for use in serving Kenyans.
“It’s about what you have done with your celebrity, which for me, is assisting my fellow Kenyans. I represent the youth, their ideologies and their thinking,” he says.
Gakau Kabochi, also known as DJ Kaytrix, has established himself as one of the top deejays in the country and even started his own entertainment outfit, Spincycle Limited.
But he is now looking for a new challenge as the next war representative for Mikindani in Mombasa.
“I have been playing around with the idea for a while now because Mikindani is my home; where my family is. I have been working with some of the youth there and helping them realise their potential in various arts,” he says.
Being his company’s head, with more than 30 employees under him, Hamisi feels that time was ripe for him to take up more leadership roles so as to help the youth who find themselves jobless and with no clear direction in life.
“When I am in such a position, I can do more for the youth than what I am currently doing,” he says. “If I win or lose, it does not mean I will stop the projects that I have going on.”
CREATE JOB OPPORTUNITIES
He adds: “My main agenda will be to clean up Mikindani. Unemployment is also a major problem. I hope I will be able to sit down with the youth and share ideas on how they can create job opportunities by themselves.”
Former QTV news anchor, producer and actress Sabina Anyango, too, feels she is the right person to bring change in the society as the MCA for Mugumo-ini Ward in Langata, Nairobi.
“Politics is a job I can do because my purpose is to serve my people,” says the media personality.
Her path to politics started in an unlikely way.
As the tenants’ chairlady in her residence, she rallied fellow tenants to take part in a borehole project which was succesfully undertaken. It earned her the nickname “Miss Maendeleo” and set her off on the path to politics.
“My main agenda is development. Being a politician is not just about your location, it’s about the people who live there, it’s about empowering those people,” she says.
Even though Anyango could have continued helping the society as a media personality, she says the two; being a celebrity and politician were separate entities. Being an MCA furthers her cause more than casting actors for roles in shows.
“My work in the media will still continue, I produce my own shows and if I win it will be an extra advantage,” she says.
Like Anyango, Hamisi is not planning to quit his career in the entertainment industry although there will be some adjustments.
“I’m concentrating on politics now. However, that does not mean that music will take a back seat. Not a chance. Music is something I love, I wasn’t forced into it. The performances will be fewer but I will still be doing stuff behind the scenes,” he says.
Also in the race for a political seat is thespian, plays and film producer Eric Ndung’u, who is an aspirant for the Uthiru Ward seat.
Comedian ‘Mchungaji’ whose real name is Gilbert Barasa, is also in the race, gunning for Kabiro Ward MCAs seat.
Musician and former National Authority for the Campaign Against Alcohol and Drug Abuse (Nacada) board member Charles Njagua Kanyi, known to many as Jaguar, has also joining politics, his target being Starehe MP’s seat.
Mombasa-based entertainer Cannibal, who is a DJ-cum-musician, has also announced his bid to vie for the Mtopanga Ward Representative’s seat in Kisauni after being encouraged by his fans and friends.
He says he will help youth who have fallen prey to drug and substance abuse, a problem that for a long time has been synonymous with some parts of Kisauni.
“I am vying for the Mtopanga seat because I am one of the youth and feel this is our time,” says Cannibal, whose real name is Ralph Masai.
Though he has enjoyed a successful career as a rapper, Cannibal acknowledges that it has always been heartbreaking to see the youth lose their sense of direction and fall into vices that in turn ruin their lives.
“These drug addicts are still our brothers and sisters and we have to bring them close to us to help them overcome their addictions and give them business ideas that will help them earn a living. Some of them are people I grew up with,” he said.
The aspirant reveals that women and the youth would be his first priority, if elected.
Another hopeful is promoter, actor and businessman Eric Omtere commonly referred to as “the Virgin Boy”.
He came into the limelight as an actor in a local TV station programme, Almasi, in which he played the role of Jaffer, a lover boy. He then moved on to event organising, promoting clubs and opened a modelling agency.
Omtere now hopes to clinch the Tudor MCA seat in 2017.
‘I CAN DO MORE’
“It reaches a time when you see that what you have done is not enough because the demand is more. I have organised numerous charity events where I give to the less fortunate, and this I have done with my own money. But this is not enough, we need government bodies to help us and I know when I am in the forefront, I can do more,” said Omtere.
Prince Adio, known for his hit song Nikiwa Ndani is also vying for a political seat. He says his hiatus from the entertainment scene started when he switched to religious songs.
He is vying for the Frere Town MCA seat. In the 2013 elections, Prince Adio came second in his maiden attempt for the same seat.
But could the celebrities have been lured by the big money politicians across the country have been getting?
For Kaytrix, it is not about the money. “I have already made money,” he says.
Cannibal says: “I believe in the people of Mtopanga and the fact that they have faith in me shows my character.”
“I am here to help my fellow youths because I am on the ground and know the problems they are going through,” adds Prince Adio.
“When you reach the level that I am all that matters is helping the people under you,” concludes the Virgin Boy.
SOCIAL WELFARE ISSUES
With 20 years of experience in the radio industry, former Kameme weekend host Gathoni Muchomba is plunging her knowledge into politics and tackling social welfare issues.
Muchomba, who is eyeing the Kiambu Woman Representative seat, is zeroing down on reconciling families by providing solutions to education and fighting illicit brew in the central region.
“Politicians are not doing anything beneficial for people back in the village because they do not have real information about what they need,” says Muchomba, who lauds herself for being a great orator.
“You need to be in the front line to fight some of these things. Yes, politics is rough, but you can only make it dirty if you are dirty,” she says.
Muchomba calls herself the spokesperson for the youth and claims to touch the hearts of the elderly and those in the informal sector.