Munishi: Troubled Family Life Of Gospel Artist Whose Songs Became A ‘National Anthem’ In Kenya 

Munishi: Troubled Family Life Of Gospel Artist Whose Songs Became A ‘National Anthem’ In Kenya 
Faustin Munishi Photo/Courtesy

By Prudence Minayo

Faustin Munishi remains one of the best gospel artists in Kenya although the fame he enjoyed in his heydays is long gone. The mellow voiced artist was born in Tanzania but found a home in Kenya where his songs never missed to be played in the national broadcaster-the Kenya Broadcasting Corporation (KBC). Songs like message laden Niko chini ya Mwamba, Namlilia Malebo are just a few of the big hits by Munishi.  

Here is the story of Faustin Munishi as told by WoK whose songs on YouTube enjoy millions of views. 

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Faustin Munishi was working as a painter when he got his first accordion. He began back to back hits in the 90s that made a household name in Kenya.  Although his songs were uploaded on YouTube years after being released, they still command millions of views.

His career hit troubled waters in 2000. This was after he released the album Mpende Adui. The album contained two controversial songs that would hit his career the wrong way. They were: CCM Imezeeka and Nawaombea Wanahabari. 

These songs made him a pariah among some factions of society, especially the Tanzanian government. 

In the song, CCM Imezeeka, he was criticizing the ruling Chama Cha Mapinduzi party in Tanzania. The Tanzanian government was so incensed with the song that they banned it. On his part, the singer told Nation that all he meant to pass across was that Ujamaa had failed them. He added that those caught selling the album in the streets were arrested by the government. However, the same government was unwilling to arrest him. 

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In the song, Nawaombea Wanahabari, he launched scathing attacks against the media. He accused media houses of contributing to moral degradation in the society. He claimed this led to his music being banned in radio and TV stations. 

Despite being banned, the gospel artist said he would never be afraid of singing about things that touch on society even if they appear very controversial. 

Munishi still went on to release some songs and established a studio in River Road. In 2009, when Nation caught up with him, he was working in the studio converting his past music to digital format. He accused the media of giving undeserved attention to the upcoming gospel artistes while ignoring the pioneer ones. 

“If some of us could have even half of the publicity you give the young artistes, then we would have real celebrities in Kenya today,” he told Nation. 

The singer turned pastor started a YouTube channel which has over 100k subscribers. He uses it as a channel to showcase his music including some of his older songs. 

Munishi’s songs include: 

  • Wamwabudu Nani? 
  • Namlilia Malebo 
  • Yesu ni Mambo Yote 
  • Ninyime Githeri  Niachie Yesu 
  • Jirani Machozi 
  • Msiabudu Amerika 
  • Yesu Nakupenda
  • Siku za Mwisho 
  • Wanabii wa Uongo 
  • Maji yana Mdudu
  • Malebo Aokoka
  • Paulo na Sila

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The Arusha-born Swahili gospel singer is married and has children who were born, raised and attended school in Kenya. 

8 years ago, The Standard published an article where his son, Salelo Munishi, was named as a hard core criminal based in Oloolua, Ngong. He was arrested and taken to court in Kibera. The singer denied the allegations saying his son was arrested, taken to court and released without being charged of any wrongdoing. 

“I was in court but he was taken to an office behind the court and I was not allowed in that office to hear what charges police have against him,” the older Munishi said. 

Talking to the Nairobian, Ngong OCS Leajori Saitoti stated that Munishi’s son was indeed a hard-core criminal:

“He was arrested following an outcry by residents that he is one of the criminals in Oloolua Ngong neighborhood. It is very sad because he is a high school dropout yet he is barely 18…” 

Munishi came out to deny the reports appearing on the publication stating that his son was indeed hooked to drugs but wasn’t a criminal. 

 “He is under rehabilitation for a drug-related addiction not a crime related addiction! He dropped out of school because of that. In fact it’s the principal who expelled him and told us he is going to die. I think my son was introduced to drugs by people who wanted to use that against me,” Munishi told the Standard.

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