The demonstrations are being organized in response to the Kenya Government continued pursuit of power from the Gibe III dam despite the lack of an adequate environmental and social impact assessment (ESIA) looking into the downstream effects of the dam, proper consultation with the local communities, an appropriate strategy on how to mitigate the environmental impacts, and a framework on how Kenya and Ethiopia will jointly regulate the ecology of the lake.
The River Omo is a transboundary river shared by Ethiopia and Kenya, and is the main source of water for Lake Turkana contributing 80% of the lake waters. The Lake Basin communities are highly dependent on the lake for their livestock grazing, watering, and fishing. Based on research and advice from environmentalists, we the Friends of Lake Turkana (FoLT) are concerned about the drastic 2 year infilling of the dam as well as the limited amount of water to be let out into Lake Turkana to maintain ecological needs. Dangers that the dam poses as is currently designed, includes, but is not limited to: retreat of Lake Turkana; increase in lake salinity; destruction of indigenous economies; loss of riparian forest and biodiversity; increase in transboundary conflicts; and hampering of livelihood development.
Members of FoLT comprise civil society groups, students, lawyers and individuals who with wish to ensure the protection of Lake Turkana and its ecosystem, its people and their economies. Our demands to the Government of Kenya are request to halt the construction of the Gibe III dam until a proper ESIA is carried out to look into the potential impacts on Lake Turkana. This should be carried out by collaboration between the local communities and organizations, the Ministries of Environment, Energy, Water and Irrigation, and Fisheries Development. We also call for the review of the Ministry of Energy’s decision to import power from Ethiopia at the expense of the livelihoods of fellow Kenyans and our ecosystem.
We call on all people of solidarity to join us in and to participate in our demonstrations, in light of increasing droughts and conflicts over water in the region. We believe that this matter is of great urgency to curtail any future environmental problems and insecurity and therefore call on the media to be aware and to cover the demonstration and developments of the case.