Sunday, June 23, 2013

The Damn Dam

Fall of the dictatorial military regime in 1991 brought little relief to the Ethiopians. Gross human rights violation, underdevelopment, poverty and starvation still remain. Famines still continue to strike and unemployment continues to soar. There is no freedom of expression in Ethiopia and media in this African nation is tightly regulated.

Ethiopians want to know how would the mega Grand Renaissance Dam help them apart from generating 6,000 MW of hydro electricity.  They want to know what benefit will the mega dam bring to the country which is one of the poorest in the world and when the nation is in absolute need of small “micro-dams” for "irrigation to ensure food security for its hunger-stricken population."

Over seventy per cent of the power the project will generate will be sold to Djibouti, Sudan and Kenya which is expected to generate a net profit of over 300 million euros every year while Ethiopians will continue to starve, die of hunger, struck intermittently by famines and slide deeper into  poverty.

The price to be paid by the Mursi, Suri and Bodi agro-pastoralists and others — those damned by the dam — is dislocation, displacement, destruction of traditional ways of life, persecution, loss of ancestral lands, starvation, conflict and potential extinction.

The Grand Renaissance Dam is also exacerbating the deterioration of the geo-political situation in the Nile basin, especially between Egypt and Ethiopia, and may possibly lead to a war over the Nile and bring devastating consequences in Ethiopia.

 The Grand Renaissance Dam will benefit only a handful — the Ethiopian elite -  who, according to a report of the Global Financial Integrity, siphoned 11.7 billion euros out of the country between 2000 and 2009. 

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