By Bisrat Berhane (on The Reporter , Ethiopia)
The report that Northern Kenya MPs have vowed to stop the construction of Gibe III hydroelectric power in Ethiopia, which was published in The Reporter under the title “Government smooth over Kenyan MPs power grumbles,” on May 21 is a clear proof that one of the frequent contributor of the newspaper, Sam Akaki, the Ugandan-born British citizen in London, was absolutely right to warn “everyone should recognise that hydro-electric power is not only a temporary measure which will sustain Ethiopia’s economic growth for a limited period. It will also vindicate the merchants of doom who are prophesising that the Third World War will be over the humble water.” (Nuclear, Solar energy: the ultimate solution to Africa’s energy crisis (14t May)
First it was the Egyptians who complained endlessly about our hydro-electric power projects in the north, and now the Kenyans are complaining from the south. When and where will the next complaint come from?
This question leaves the Ethiopian government with two choices.
One choice is take seriously Sam Akaki’s warning that because of population explosion, “Africans are struggling for the limited basic resources (land and water) as wild animals do over carcasses; thus triggering a vicious cycle of civil and [cross-boarder wars], poverty, famine, diseases, refugee exodus and more environmental degradation and poverty.”
The other choice is to follow Ambassador Dina Mufti, spokesperson of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), who has said that “individual MPs in Kenya have the right to comment and can complain about anything regarding the construction of Gilgel Gibe III. What matters is the position of their government.” Really?
Posted on CBS News by Celia Hatton.
It's a story that truly spans the globe: Activists from all over the world, including San Francisco, are trying to stop the construction of a dam in Ethiopia financed by a Chinese bank.
The Gibe 3 Dam is in the early phases of construction on Ethiopia's powerful Omo River, using $500 million dollars in equipment funded by the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China (ICBC). The hydroelectric dam, one of the largest construction projects in Ethiopia's history, would regulate the flow of water along the Omo River as it courses through Ethiopia and into Kenya's massive Lake Turkhana -- a freshwater oasis in the heart of the desert.
The project has been mired in controversy since it was just a blueprint. The World Bank and the European Investment Bank financed smaller hydroelectric projects on the Omo River, but dropped consideration of the Gibe 3 Dam after viewing the environmental impact report commissioned by the Ethiopian government. Activists say the World Bank and the African Development Bank lost interest in the project after considering its social and ecological implications on the region's fragile ecosystem stretching across Ethiopia and northern Kenya. The European Investment Bank also dropped consideration of the Gibe 3 Dam, although its reasons for doing so are unclear.
Residents of Todonyang area of Turkana, who fled their homes following an attack by the Merile over a month ago, are still yet to return to their homes. They say the government has not beefed up security in the area s promised and they are now living in fear of attacks. The Ethiopian government is however said to have embarked on evacuating the Merile from Kenyan territory, along the Kenya Ethiopian border.
Watch the video below as posted by leading Kenyan broadcasters NTV on their YouTube channel