Emmanuel Musindi: How Uhuru Rescued Azimio’s Campaign Song Hitmaker From Sh8.4 Million Hospital Bill

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In summary

  • Emmanuel Musindi dropped out of school in class eight in order to pursue music.
  • He began his career in the ’90s and takes credit for being the pioneer Western Kenya artiste to shoot a video.
  • In 2016, President Uhuru Kenyatta rescued Musindi from a whooping Ksh 8.4 million hospital bill after he underwent surgery at MP Shah hospital.

Emmanuel Musindi, the man behind Azimio la Umoja’s popular campaign song ‘lero ni lero’ is a man who has braved a tough upbringing to establish himself as one of the top musicians in Western Kenya.

The artiste was brought up in a silent village in Shinyalu sub-county of Kakamega. He is the last born in a family of 16 who decided to take up the music mantle from his grandfather who was also a musician.

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Musindi describes the art of music as an inbuilt talent and began honing his skills in primary school. Because of concentrating too much on music, he wasn’t a top academic performer and he made a decision to drop out of school after completing his primary school education.

A young Musindi, whom teachers had described as mischievous directed his energies towards building his music career. He looked up to the then maestros like David Amunga, Jacob Luseno and John Nzenze who had dominated Luhya Benga genre.

The ‘lero ni lero‘ hitmaker would perform in low profile events and various entertainment joints. His pay was only enough to sustain him a few days. Occasionally, the musician would be rewarded with local brew.

Recording his first song 

In 1993, Musindi landed a fortune when he impressed a producer during a performance held in the village. The producer, identified as Bonventure helped Musindi in recording his first album in Nairobi. The duo cemented their bromance with Musindi’s songs announcing his daring entrance; the newcomer who quickly amassed thousands of adoring fans.

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In 1996, he released his first video as some of his songs penetrated the airwaves through vernacular radio stations. According to the artiste, he became the pioneer Western Kenya musician to record a video. As his career was taking an upward trajectory, Musindi got recognized by legendary musician Jacob Luseno (RIP) who mentored him.

Jacob Luseno was a kind man, he was polite and frank,” says Musindi.

As a musician, Musindi went on to release various infectious tunes and graced numerous events.

Ksh 8.4 million hospital bill 

In 2016, Musindi suffered a life threatening occasion when one of his cranial blood vessels ruptured. He lost consciousness and was rushed to MP Shah hospital where an emergency surgery was conducted.

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After recovery, his total bill amounted to Ksh 8.4 million. Contributions from relatives and friends were not adequate to offset the bill.

I was stranded at MP Shah hospital and my relatives, friends and relatives contributed but it was not adequate,” he revealed in a past interview with a local radio station.

Photo|Nairobi News

However, through the intervention of leaders among them Johnson Sakaja, President Uhuru Kenyatta came to the rescue and cleared the pending bill. A few days later, Musindi was invited at Statehouse to meet the president.

The President rescued me when I was at the most desperate place and nobody else could help,” Musindi told Nairobi News.

Azimio Campaign Song 

In January 2022, during an Azimio la Umoja rally held at Bukhungu stadium in Kakamega, Musindi got the chance to perform just after ODM leader Raila Odinga took to the stage. Raila asked the event’s DJ to play Musindi’s ‘lero ni lero‘ song as the musician joined to deliver an electrifying performance.

However, days later, Musindi claimed that the event organizers left him empty handed. Through an interview with Radio Citizen, he revealed that it took the intervention of Kakamega woman representative Elsie Muhanda who only paid for his fare back home.

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However, Radio Citizen pulled down the interview’s video from YouTube and one month later the Azimio pact adopted Musindi’s song for its campaign tours.

The matter saw veteran politician Raila Odinga partner with Musindi in recording the ‘Leo ni Leo remix’ that has so far accumulated 1.2 million YouTube views.

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