Pwani Tribune

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Prominent Coast Personalities; Darius Msagha Mbela.

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He served as Wundanyi MP from 1988-2002. Described by former AG Amos Wako and fellow Alliance High School alumnus as “the only old boy who sang his way into Parliament”.

A music student of Prof. George Senoga-Zake (responsible for the arrangement of our national anthem), Darius Mbela gained national acclaim when as choirmaster of St. Stephen’s Church he led his choir in a week-long vigil at State House as Mzee Jomo Kenyatta lay in state in 1978. Before the whole nation took notice of him during the mourning period, Darius Mbela competed in the Tenor Open Class Category of the 1977 Kenya Music Festival and came second. That he competed and came second is not of great fascination, that he was a serving PS then is. It speaks of his great love for music.

Upon learning of Jomo Kenyatta’s death, Mbela rushed his choir to Voice of Kenya studios to record a 12-song album, ‘Tribute to Mzee’. It was a week-long dawn to midnight affair for the choir with composition, rehearsals and performances happening all at once. All culminating in them performing during the funeral service at Parliament grounds. They worked tirelessly during the mourning period that many wondered whether Mbela and the choir had an album ready in the event of Mzee’s passing. A testament to its quality. Members of the choir say Darius Mbela was more than just a choirmaster, he was a teacher who made them understand instruments and the different aspects of voice. He taught them discipline and demonstrated punctuality by his own example. He always arrived for rehearsals at 5 O’clock sharp because he believed preparation was key to producing good music and success in music competitions.

Darius Mbela served in Lands and Housing, Agriculture, Livestock Development and Marketing Ministerial dockets. Mbela’s legacy lives on in his composition ‘Pokea Moyo Wangu’, which is a common inclusion in Catholic and Anglican requiem masses. Darius Msagha Mbele, one of our nation’s finest composers.

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