Imagine if the US congress have 547 seats and 546 of them are taken by Republicans and just one is Democrat or vise versa. I am sure this doomsday scenario will not happen as long as there is a democratic election and strong constitution is in place but who knows, I think we are three Koch brothers away from it. Well this same scenario is exactly what is happening in Ethiopia’s, House of People’s Representatives. The House have 547 seats and 546 of it taken by the ruling EPRDF parties and one is held by Mr. Girma Seifu Maru of Unity for Democracy and Justice (UDJ). In the positive light the House of Representatives have 154 women MP’s, which is impressive comparing to other African nations.
Most political watchers and experts questioned his presence as a rubber stamp of a representative who have no teeth to bit or support to pass a legislative by himself. They also said he is only there to be an example for foreign donors and friends as a sign of so called “Democracy”. These same experts advised and wished for him to leave in solidarity of oppositions to let the Government have it all. Yet Mr Girma decided to keep the seat his constituents gave him. He believed in rolling his sleeve and calling a spade a spade, is the only way change truly happen. He was tough act to follow and impressive to hate. He focused on the task at hand and kept his cool even when he is out weighed 546 to 1. To witness his act in the house is something of a political show. For all the important laws the majority passed Mr. Girma recorded his strong opposition and questioned it’s legality. His professional demeanor and his courage to confront, consult, question, support and vet legislation’s regardless of the outcome is something that stood colorful and bold in the House of Representative. Today no expert think his presence in the house is not without merit. Because of that he represented his constituents superbly. Mr. Girma is not always against the ruling party. He also joined forces when he see a good legislation. He mourn the passing of Prime Minister Meles Zenawi in such a respectful and dignified way. For some, his act meant we can agree to disagree but we can be human in the time of sorrow.
Now I said all this, it come as a surprise to me to know Mr Girma endorsed my new CD. He said “Yadesa, An artist recently give us a good Reggae music not with the conventional way but with full of love to his nation Ethiopia even beyond to Africa. He is also contributed to Ormifa song …. please search to get the song. For sure you all love it.”
When I wrote my songs and worked with Iré Taylor. We knew what we are doing or what we are working on is not just music for the sake of enjoyment (Nothing wrong with that btw) but we wanted something that have message and something that unites people. Lyrically, I didn’t want to use my songs to hurt people’s feeling but to share what I was thinking. To exercise my God given right to express my inner feeling (track #2). To mourn those we lost and use their life to help others (track #3). To remind my fellow mankind the continent once wrongfully considered “The Dark Continent” is the light of my life (track #4). To celebrate my origin (track #1) to question history and to speak for the voiceless (track #6) and also to celebrate women (track #5, 10 and 11).
Some count their blessing by the amount of CD’s they sale or by the amount airplay’s and gigs they booked. Some feel lost and unappreciated and lose hope in the middle of their career. Some continue to work regardless of the outcome. Yes all of the above play an important role in artist life because artist have to scrap and struggle to make their music and sell it. It is fine and easy to look good on the album cover but it didn’t show the late nights and credit card balances. through it all, one thing makes all artists flourish. The way they impact peoples life. The way art travel without boundaries and touches all. That is exactly what I felt when I read Mr Girma’s comment.
One of the highlights of my CD release came from two of my friend. One is opponent of the present Ethiopian Government. He spoke about it in public, led demonstrations and effectively denounced most of what he thinks are wrong in Ethiopia. My other friend was pro government. He supported the government and defended its administration on various mass media outlets. These two Ethiopians are very bright and smart and both have very good intentions for the country, yet they always quarrel from their respected corner. The week I released my CD, they both write me (not aware of one another) to say how much they liked the CD. I was very happy about that not only because they liked my work but because they shared same interest which is the indicative of “we are all the same”
May be Mr Girma knew that before all of us when he decided to take a seat as a lone wolf MP.