Musician Who Moved Michuki to Tears

  • The late John Michuki during a press conference of African finance ministers in Washington on October 11, 2008.
    The late John Michuki during a press conference of African finance ministers in Washington on October 11, 2008.
    File
  • The late Internal Security Minister John Michuki was known to be a tough man just like his successors, the late George Saitoti, Joseph Nkaissery and incumbent Fred Matiang'i.

    Many argue that the no-nonsense character comes with the job of being in charge of the Ministry of Interior, or Internal Security as it was called when Michuki was at the top of his game.

    Despite his toughness one musician Simon Kihara, popularly known as Musaimo Wa Njeri was able to bring the feared politician to tears. 

    Musician Simon Kihara, popularly known as Musaimo Wa Njeri
    Musician Simon Kihara, popularly known as Musaimo Wa Njeri
    File

    Narrating the story during a YouTube show with former rapper Ala C, he recalled the performance that he will live to remember.

    Having dropped out of school in 1979 for lack of school fees, he started practising music with a guitar he had bought for Ksh40 after saving up. 

    “Michuki heard about my singing and he sent people to come get me in a Land Rover. I was taken to Kangema while I still looked shabby to perform for him at a rally. 

    “I sang so well until it moved him to tears and joined the youth who were campaigning for him to become Kangema MP,” Musimo narrated.

    The musician used the Ksh2,000 gift from the politician to pay for his school fees at St Theresa School in Eastleigh.

    He also stated that his father had cautioned him against venturing into music and at one point, he was injured on the wrist by a panga as he was protecting his quitar from being slashed by his old man.

    In 1981 he recorded his first song, Njungi ya Kiruka, however, it did not do well.

    Musaimo never gave up on his dreams and continued composing songs, like My Dear Kwaheri which he sang casually at his house in Dandora.

    Friends who heard him sing convinced a popular music producer Waweru wa Maingi to assist Musaimo with recording.

    And as fate would have it, it became an instant hit. The song’s success gave Musaimo access to Kikuyu musical giants like Joseph Kamaru from whom he learned the art of band organisation.

    Musaimo formed his own band Mbiri Young Stars with backup musicians like Kimani Thomas and Joseph Wamumbe from Gatanga.

    By then his song, Dear Kwaheri was the talk of town, elevating his musical status.

    The song is about a lover’s letter to his girlfriend after leaving her back home to go and work abroad.

    Eighteen years after its release, Musaimo got a chance to perform in the UK for the first time.

    His songs still enjoy great assive airplay on vernacular radio stations. He advised the current generation of musicians to angle towards making music that has longevity.

    Watch Musaimo wa Njeri narrate how he moved Michuki to tears. (Video is in vernacular)