Ben Githae in a music video for 'Tano Tena'. It was the official campaign song for President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election bid in 2017. [Photo Courtesy]
Ben Githae in a music video for 'Tano Tena'. It was the official campaign song for President Uhuru Kenyatta's re-election bid in 2017. [Photo Courtesy]

The Kenya Copyright Board (KECOBO) on Monday, November 8 issued an advisory for musicians engaged in political campaign work.

With the 2022 General elections less than a year away, politicians across the country have intensified their activities on the campaign trail. As always, recorded music, commissioned songs and live performances feature prominently in the campaigns.

Some politicians commission songs singing their praises. Others use existing tunes as theme music for their campaigns. Artists also get paid to perform at various campaign events.

KECOBO Executive Director Edward Sigei noted that, in the past, several artists had found themselves in unwanted positions after failing to be properly compensated for their work in political campaigns.

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“From previous experience, at the end of the campaign many musicians remain frustrated and unpaid. Some musicians lose completely as they cannot sue since there is no evidence of a contractual relationship with their principals, most of whom retreat from public after the campaigns,” he noted in a statement.

Kecobo went on to highlight four points artists should be keen on to ensure they reap the rewards of political campaign work. They are;

  1. That musicians should negotiate the terms of their services preferably with lawyers in all cases to ensure that they enter written contracts with the politicians.
  2. Insist on cash before delivery of commissioned songs or even payment of a sizeable deposit before the production of commissioned work.
  3. Avoid the sharing of the commissioned recordings over social media platforms for any reason before the payment is made.
  4. Ensure they (artists) receive full payment before any live performance.

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