'Ndovu ni Kuu' artiste, Kenyatta University might fight it out in court
The battle between one of Kenya’s leading public universities, Kenyatta University, and ‘Ndovu ni kuu’ hit maker Christopher Thande Githara (Krispah) might end up in court if the two parties fail to agree in the ongoing talks.
The popular gengetone song’s lyrics ‘Hakunanga masomo KU’, meaning there is no education in KU, is what prompted the Ruiru-based varsity administration to react to the matter alleging defamation.
Besides Krispah, the song also features Brian Robert Ouko (Khaligraph Jones) and Boutross Mwebia Munene (Boutross).
Sources close to the university’s administration have disclosed to The Standard Entertainment that plans were underway to sue the artiste, Krispah, for defamation if ongoing talks do not bear fruits.
“Kenyatta University is an old brand that has been offering education services for a very long time. Therefore, saying there is no education here, and in a popular song, is defamatory,” a source who sought anonymity said via a phone call.
He went on, “The institution reached out for an agreement with him (Krispah), but he asked for Sh1 million before we could start anything. The institution refused.”
However, experts in the music industry argue the song neither specifically pointed out nor mentioned Kenyatta University in its lyrics but said KU, which meant Kenyan universities.
Machua Koinange, Kenyatta University’s Director of Public Relations and Communication, was not available for comment when reached for comment.
“That one, we cannot talk about it,” he remarked before hanging up.
‘Ndovu ni Kuu’ is a Kenyan feel-good song dubbed gengetone, with a mixture of English, Swahili, and the local dialect, sheng, in a three minutes and 50 seconds video.
Its audiovisual version was premiered on Youtube, an online video sharing and social media platform, on May 21, 2021, and had 3,684,924 views, 65 000 likes and only 1,200 dislikes precisely two months later.
At one point, the song, whose success was inevitable on all social media platforms, was pulled down by google after Copyright infringement issues came up.
Days later, the track was back on the video-sharing site.
In a recent interview, Krispah, the song producer, claimed the song was not pulled down due to Copyright Infringement issues but because of the line ‘hakuna masomo KU.’
“The institution’s communication department claims the utterances of the song immensely affected their intake numbers,” he said.
Kenya Film Classification Board (KFCB) CEO Ezekiel Mutua says the varsity was free to sue for defamatory comments but opined both parties settle the issue out of court.
“Art should not be used to destroy one’s reputation. Artistes need to know there is a thin line between defamation and freedom of expression,” Mutua said.
According to him, the track had three questionable legal issues: Copyright Infringement (which has since been cleared), defamation, and failure to adhere to CAP. 222. Films and Stage Plays Act.
Part three, section 12, sub-section 2 of the Films and Stage Plays Act states, “No film or class of film shall be distributed, exhibited or broadcast, either publicly or privately, unless the Board has examined it and issued a certificate of approval.”
Mutua says the law requires all audiovisual content to be rated for age appropriateness, which was not done.
“I appeal to the administration of Kenyatta University not to sue a man of scroll but instead I will talk to both parties and give them time to solve it amicably,” Mutua concluded.
He argues no artiste can fight an established institution.
Krispah made his breakthrough in the music industry when his song ‘ndovu ni kuu’ turned out to be a massive hit prompting his recognition as one of the bomb musicians.
The track has ranked high on the Kenyan TikTok scene garnering 4,238 videos of challenges done by various fans.