Ben Githae: I don't regret supporting Raila with an 'election song'

Ben Githae performing on stage

Former MP Maina Kamanda, ODM Party Leader Raila Odinga, Gospel artiste Ben Githae and Nairobi Governor Anne Kananu on stage during the Azimio La Umoja campaign at the Thika Greens Stadium on January 15, 2022.

Photo credit: Francis Nderitu | Nation Media Group

Popular gospel musician Ben Githae does not regret supporting Azimio la Umoja One Kenya Coalition Party in the run up to the August 9 General Elections, despite the ridicule he faced, he says.

He was insulted by many of his kinsmen for that decision “but I was in it for a mission to benefit our musicians,” he said on Monday, adding that the relationship enabled musicians to negotiate for better benefits from Skiza Tunes.

“Mobile phone service providers were in 2009 paying us 7.5 percent of gains in our musical copyrights. The figure was increased to 16 percent in 2012. When we met Mr Odinga in 2021, the percentage rose in 2022 to 52 percent. My association with Azimio and Mr Odinga brought my fellow musicians earning freedom,” he told Kiengei Monday live show.

Mr Githae said that “helping musicians needs political goodwill and we had to get creative in winning benefits.”

Other musicians from Mt Kenya region also supported the Kenya Kwanza Alliance, “where we have our own, Mr Muigai Njoroge and Ngaruiya Junior, to bargain for us in President William Ruto's government,” he added.

Mr Githae said that when he led some musicians to meet Mr Odinga and Royal Media Services proprietor Samuel Kamau (SK) Macharia over the Skiza tune negotiations, “things moved fast and to good effect”.

“Mr Odinga gave us Gladys Wanga (now Homa Bay governor) to mobilise parliamentarians within the handshake formation to make it law that the percentage be increased. And it was done, [and this is the] reason why I cannot regret singing for his campaigns,” he said.

On July 17, 2021, SK Macharia hosted the musicians in his Murang'a County home where Mr Odinga and his supporters from Mt Kenya region announced commencement of the high Skiza pay-out rates.

He said the move was enabled by the good working relations between him and the then President Uhuru Kenyatta “and we will ensure all our musicians maximise returns on their toils.”

Mr Githae said that following the successful search for good earnings for musicians, he then released his hit Mlima twasema Baba tosha (meaning Mt Kenya supports Raila Odinga for the presidency).

However, he lamented that “I promised Baba the Mountain, but my people asked me whether I had my own mountain to promise”.

The musician said people ridiculed him and that “our project and mission flopped, which is a painful thing to be honest, but the gains we grabbed as musicians from that political relation is so huge and long lasting”.

He urged musicians now in Dr Ruto’s good books to use the opportunity to get benefits for the industry.

“We grabbed what we could in the Handshake and Azimio formations...and all musicians can confess that we are happier than we have ever been since independence. We want those now wining and dining with this government to bring us more benefits.”

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