By Godwin Semunyu.
When Joseph Mbilinyi alias Mr. Two, or Too Proud and now Sugu, was sworn in as Member of Parliament for Mbeya urban in 2010, he sent buzzing vibes to the Tanzania music industry. It was surreal to imagine that a Bongo Flava artist barred its reputation at the time, making it to its most potent legislative organ. Sugu, known for his strong lyrical messages, is regarded as an epitome of Bongo Fleva entrance into politics by being brave enough to challenge the status quo of the “elite” class of politicians, old enough to be his own parents. He actually ousted his secondary school class teacher.
Five years later,2015, another Bongofleva legend Joseph Haule aka Professor Jay, whose hit single ‘Chemsha Bongo’ in the 90’s convinced the entire nation that Bongo Flava was more than just “kufokafoka,” joined the honorable wagon, after winning the Mikumi constituency. The wheels were set in motion. Several other artists would then follow suit by running for various political offices. Baba Levo from Kigoma opted for a ward executive position.
As the election 2020 is nearing, we already are hearing of Bongo Fleva artists expressing their desire to run for the public offices. Rajabu Mgaya, aka “Harmonize,” is highly touted to ran for Tandahimba constituency in Mtwara after being publicly tipped by President John Magufuli as good enough for the job. Kigoma based Baba Levo is also ready to upgrade to Parliamentarian from his current post as ward executive. Meanwhile, the famous Iringa son, Mike Mwakatundu, aka Mike Tee “Mnyalu,” has announced his quest for Iringa urban seat via CCM.
In another turn of event, Ukonga Bilingual lyrical genius Webiro Noel Wassira alias “Wakazi” has recently announced joining ACT Wazalendo, he is yet to announce his intentions, but the writings on the wall are as panoramic as the Eiffel tower. If it looks like a bird, it is a bird.
With more than 75% of Tanzanians being below 45 years of age, the sky is the limit to Bongo Fleva artists to turn their fans base into votes. They can easily relate to the new wave of first-time voters who turned 18 and became eligible in the last five years. According to data from National Electro Commission, over 30 million Tanzanians out of a population of 55 million are registered to vote in the coming October 2020 general elections, from 23,161,440 who were recorded for the 2015 general elections. Whereas 7,043,247 are newly registered voters. These numbers present a bright light at the end of the tunnel for Bongo Flava political aspirants.
When addressing the final session of the parliamentary meeting in Dodoma yesterday, President Magufuli praised the sports and entertainment sector for being on the forefront in pushing the branding Tanzania agenda worldwide. President Magufuli narrated that the industry has contributed immensely to the national economy. “I would like to recommend all Bongo Flava artists, actors, and athletes for a tremendous job in the last five years, “said President Magufuli.
Gone are the days when artists were only used as curtain-raisers and crowd-pullers at campaign rallies, now they are the big boys rivaling the status quo. They want a seat at the decision-making tables; they want a more significant piece of the cake; they are past being only entertainers. The tables done changed.
One thing is certain; the political game is unforgiving, artists have to prove that they are more than just hitmakers, they will be judged like any other politician, they will be judged by what they bring to the table. They will be expected to present their visions, their realistic targets, and attainable action plans. Much as they adore them, the current generation of voters is too exposed to call a spade by any other name.
So far, so good for the music once regarded as “muziki wa wahuni.”Read More