In this period when political parties are or have kicked off their campaign trails, they do not want to leave anything to chance. Serious attention is being given to selling themselves to the electorate the best way they can. However, branding of regalia such as berets, caps, hats, t-shirts, shorts, skirts and add to the list branded cars and entertainment, specifically music, has made these functions colourful.
It has become fashionable and politically expedient to hire musicians to act as star attractions at big, huge rallies. Political parties and their candidates have tended to make rallies more appealing by using music and theme songs as a tool to energize and inspire crowds. Politicians these days consider music as catalyst and key element for establishing their personality and inspire voters.
In the United States of America, for instance, in 1992, Presidential candidate Bill Clinton used Fleetwood Mac’s “Don’t Stop” as a theme for his first campaign at the Democratic National Convention. Barack Obama’s concession speech was used by rapper William James Adam “Yes we can” in 2008 as a slogan that simply won an election for Obama. From the Republican’s presumptive nominee, Donald Trump has used the Rolling Stone’s “Brown Sugar” though he was never given permission to play the song.
Here at home, in 2011 the Patriotic Front’s (PF) popular theme song was Dandy Krazy’s “Donchi Kubeba” while “Aleisa. Aleisa,” by Krummy was the United Party for National Development’s (UPND) theme song. Five years on, political parties are once again hiring musicians as a way of endorsements. The parties are seeking use of popular theme songs and producing catchy commercials.
The political parties are using music power to try and help influence the 2016 Presidential election. On 21st May, 2016 as both the PF and UPND were holding their rallies in Lusaka and Kitwe respectively, musicians were once again the centre attractions.
JK (Jordan Katembula), Macky2, Exile, Wille, Mampi, Dalisoul, Mazegator, General Kanene, Kings Malembe Malembe and Nathan Nyirenda were at Heroes Stadium at the PF Rally while Pilato, Krummy, Kenjina, Cavman and the Belo Boys performed at the UPND’s rally at Freedom Park in Kitwe. ZNBC-TV carried the Heroes Stadium event “Live” while the Freedom Park event was equally covered “live” by Muvi-TV.
Zapping in between the two channels on two different decoders left an impression that modern music by Zambian musicians is once again set to play a key and dominant role in the August 11, 2016 election and later in the years to come. If music is used as a cross-fertilization of ideas for those who are willing to hear what each politicakl party needs to deliver to the electorate, then the electioneering campaigns will be made easy.
The writer is a broadcast journalist and Media Consultant
By Ben Kangwa