As the late former president Mwai Kibaki was laid to rest in his birthplace of Othaya, and with the country still in the mood for full-disclosure, patriotic songs legend Thomas Wasonga is the latest to reveal what happened when he offered to compose songs for the late president who was known for his modesty. This comes hot on the heels of similar confessions by former Vice-president Kalonzo Musyoka who revealed the telling off he received after suggesting to Kibaki that Thika Road be named after him. Kibaki nevertheless had an unexpected response to Wasonga.
Wasonga was speaking while making an appearance on KBC’s Living Legends, hosted by the station’s presenter Saffin Achieng’ Auma.
He revealed that immediately president Daniel Toroitich Arap Moi exited the stage, everyone was concerned about what would happen. Former Moi confidantes and workers were apprehensive that Kibaki would take over and perhaps purge all vestiges of the previous regime.
Still serving as member of the Permanent Presidential Music Commission, Wasonga urged Nick Wanjohi to find a way of requesting the then new president to allow them to continue with their musical activities in State House. Wanjohi conveyed this to the then Comptroller of State House Matere Kiriri, who immediately told Kibaki.
To Wasonga’s relief, Kibaki was on board and said it was okay for them to continue.
Wasonga has performed for various heads of state and boasts of several accolades such as a Silver Star State Commendation (1988), Order of the Grand Warrior (2002), Brand Kenya Ambassador of the Year (2013) and an honorary recognition from Kenyatta University for his contribution to music for the last three decades. These are just some of his key achievements.
Ever modest, he says the biggest accomplishment of his career is the countless number of people who come up to him to tell him that he moulded them through music.
“When I meet my former students, they tell me that music helped shape the direction of their lives, which makes me very happy. I used to tell my students that one day they would be my bosses and they’d laugh but some of them actually are,” he says.
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