In 2017, Burundi national Ketty Nivyabandi wrote to Sauti Sol and asked them not to support the country’s regime by performing in the country. She argued that the current leadership had made her and 500,000 more people refugees and asked them to use their power a regime that violate basic human rights of its people.
Sauti Sol, in their response, attempted to sidestep the issue by insisting that they were not invited by the Burundi government to perform in Bujumbura. They went ahead to claim that as Sauti Sol ‘”we leave politics to the politicians and let our message of peace, love and unity speak for itself”. They later posted on their blog about how they received a presidential welcome to Burundi.
Fast forward to 2018, the music act recently made a political stance by supporting the #FreeBobiWine movement. Bobi Wine, celebrated Ugandan musician and politician, was arrested and tortured last week by the Ugandan government.
It is noble of them to support such a cause but what happened to them staying away from politics. Also where were they when Kenyan babies and adults were being killed and beaten? Or would that jeopardize their cozy relationship with the Jubilee government?
Today Sauti Sol have released what you can call a political song called Tujiangalie. They did such a hatchet job I am even wondering whether live here or know our history. First they seem to not know that Kenya is the way it is because of Kenyatta one, who they put on a pedestal in the first stanza. They also at some point blame Kenyans on Twitter for our problems. In the song, they are asking Kenyans to self reflect and hold themselves accountable while ignoring the years of trauma and abuse that they have had to endure in the hands of Kenyatta 1 and later Kenyatta 2. They ignore the work of the church to subjugate and not hold leaders to account. If this is what a political Sauti Sol looks like then I’d rather settle for an obviously compromised one because this is not helpful. A music act with their reach should and can do better and I am amazed at how out of touch they are.
They should leave this world to people who know what they are doing or at least educate themselves better. Better yet, they should take Boniface Mwangi’s advice and “use their art to speak truth to power” but in a better and more nuanced way.
You can listen to their song below.