The ambitious Ethiopian government’s “The Great Renaissance Dam Project” on Nile River has ignited new fear and uncertainty among the general workers across all governmental departments. For Ethiopians, who are suffering from an ever increasing inflation of basic necessities, much is at stake.
That fear factor is for the following two reasons. Although mainstream Ethiopians embrace this splendid project with eagerness as an age old “dream” of our forefathers, it come along with the appalling politics of cadre finance raisers, which the government has brought together and infiltrated to every sectors of the civil service; from universities to factories with the intention of executing its programs and strategies, and this naturally lends itself for the usual connection of manipulation of the money and bogus public relation works of the project. Honestly speaking currently in Ethiopia organized hypocrisy is at its height through the promise of buying millennium bonds and reciting our age old “dream” of Abay mantra. This puts a significant number of the public in a limbo .Moreover; the rush and the secrecy that attends “The Great Renaissance Dam Project” have left the majority citizens not knowing enough to feel confident.
The fear inspired by the unrealized promises of electric power surplus due to the failure of Gilegle Gibe II and Tikaze hydro powers is being reflected amongst the majority of the civil servants’ reluctance to cooperate with government cadres to raise funds. Here I do not deny the fact I myself have willy-nilly given 30% of my monthly salary to the cause, which was decided on a meeting that I and many of my friends were not participant largely owing to the techniques which systemically alienates us from the meeting. Had we been on such meetings we would have demanded for an explanation and interweaved cadre strategies to stain critical citizens by labeling them as mercenaries of Egyptians or couriers of the enemy. Indeed, such kinds of meetings in Ethiopia are prone to induce fear and generally participants will not defy most of the ideas forwarded from the leaders of such an assembly. Moreover on these kinds of meetings “governing” ideas of the leaders of such a gathering are being roared heavily by undercover cadres who want to don the patriotic dress by passionate support they show for the dam. Other moderate participants are too afraid to speak for fear of being labeled. Some might think this way:-“If I ask some critical questions I might be considered as Egyptian”. “Should I contest the feasibility of this project; my citizenship will be instantly questioned”
The other factor that exacerbates the public fear is not to classify who supports the project or not. The real fear emerges from the abolition of the grey area. Government people and cadres are obsessed with thinking in black and white, leaving no space for development of logic, arguments and inquiry regarding the feasibility of this grand project —–“The Great Renaissance Dam Project”—–. Let me exemplify this with an aphorism of a certain priest that I heard on Ethiopian Television during Easter celebration. I am quoting the priest directly “Every Ethiopian except an unborn offspring or dead in a graveyard should support this project”. When a nation is talking matters of a vital significance like this, people are allowed to inquire seriously. Otherwise this is an open hypocrisy. And it clearly sends out the message that the only intention of this government is to complete its term and nothing more.
I think our plight is therefore is this: Ethiopia has more than 15 hydro electric power plants in operation, with an additional 6 on order. With the country dreadfully short of power, and requiring energy to grow, concerned citizens are asking if “The Great Renaissance Dam Project” is still the answer for Ethiopia.