What I fear about “The Great Renaissance Dam Project”

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.

8 responses to “What I fear about “The Great Renaissance Dam Project”

  1. This is an outstanding exposure of the reality from the grass root. As the saying goes on “BESEW KUSIL ENCHET SIDEDIBET” is the implicit slogan of cadres there in every government institutions. Otherwise for an individual who is supporting his family based on 2-3Killos of Birr under the 30% infilation is senseless to “contribute”.

    Let me expose some example from the truth of Arba Minch University(AMU). Don’t we know those groups who has frequently making a “politically forced” meeting with the president (to that end those who are ordering the president)? Don’t we know how those Cadres are recruited by internal Memo denying the senate legistlation? Don’t we know their academic weakness during their school time there in the same university? Some of you who are/were deans of faculties; haven’t you been ordered to recruite those cadres denying the rules and regulations?

    However, today they are telling us the imprtance of ” the _______ Dam”. What a hell? May be our university presidents or vices feel that they are serving their society keeping theirselves as neutral which is tackticfull retardation in my view. They can get rid of the cadres but not from the truth. At least I didn’t expect this kind of blind silence from Water Technology staff to talk about the feasibility of the project in public.
    The so called dam was studies in 1960s by USBR(United States Bureau of Reclamation). That feasibility study proposes three different sites including Karadobi, Mandaya and Border; now the Ethiopian government renamed the Border dam as the “Rennaisance, Millenium, Hidase blah blah blah dam” which is located only 20miles from Sudan. Why is that???
    In addition had the two (Karadobi and Mandaya) are built they would have been implemented for irrigation purpose too. However, the current one is only for hydropower purpose because there is no command area downstream. Can any Cadre respond to me?

  2. It is a nice and recent issue that you are forwarding to those meaningless, illogical, pointless, and idiotic and parroted cadres, who are not even responsible for their own case. Whenever someone raises critical questions about the feasibility of their plan, strategy, the reality at hand, and other important queries, they divert the question in negative sense; and they point the whole fingers, may be including their feet fingers, towards the individual. This an epidemic of false, arrogance, egotistical, unethical, undemocratic,…ways of answering for a purely logical questions are becoming the unique behavior of all cadres of the ruling party from the top leader up to the bottom one.
    Everybody in this country has been leading the worst life due to the price soaring, corrupted cadres and ruling party officials, vague economic policy and strategy, incompetent educational policy and so on. The people have been sacrificing themselves to see the good day that they are always hoping for, but those leaders of this time can’t able to achieve the desire of the people. They are even making the life of the people worst by preaching and telling a false achievement, progress, and development in every sector, and if the cadres assume that the people are knowing what the false and the mistake they have been doing, they try to divert the basic questions of the society by transmitting another fallacy logics, like fierce allegation of their opponents by saying terrorists; and false projects, like the big millennium dam; and etc. Please, top cadres as well as the bottom (lower) cadres, bear in my mind that “two wrongs don’t make right”. Most of the people now need basic stuffs which make them elongate their life to the next day. But, Cadres are preaching about the ‘big millennium dam” which may not be the concern for the hungry and angry people. Every sect of the society of this country is complaining about the imposition of the government cadres on the people to raise money for the project. I know most individuals, who were actively watching ETV before, now start closing their TV when the “big millennium dam” is advertised and propagated by ETV’s cadre journalists.
    I perfectly understand that a well designed project will benefit the society, but I don’t think that the project of the “big millennium dam” is a well planed in terms of the money, which it requires to finish the dam; the agreement consensus of the people, the inflation rate, which let the bond buyer’s in difficulty for future; and etc. I am sure that the cadres, who may read this comment, post a name “Terrorist or supporter of terrorist” for me. Nevertheless, truth can be disclosed one day even if it is buried under the deepest place of the earth. My second advice to those cadres is that every individual of this country has the responsibility of being accountable, transparent and concerned about his/her country fate, so please don’t advertise yourself as mere concerned individuals of this country for meager money and trash fame.

  3. My Fear to Cadre Phobia
    These days I feel that this cadre phobia has been alienating us from our State. Our political culture can best be explained by G.W. Bush’s call for anti-terrorism- “be with us or against us”-the extreme sides.In the context of the current political process we are either EPRDFites or its opponents.No middle ground,no neutrality…the invisible wall between is as deep as ocean and as high as the sky.No one expects something good from the other camp.This is where we lose the big picture-Ethiopia.As to my understanding, whenever some thing is done in the name of the public the question should be how far is it good; not who is in charge. Some times this over skepticism, the natural out growth of hatred politics, leads us to wrong judgement;let me quote the point that forced me to say so “the rush and the secrecy that attends “The Great Renaissance Dam Project” have left the majority citizens not knowing enough to feel confident”. Though I completely agree the public has the right to know what “its government” is doing ,on what ground can we expect so sensitive issues like this Dam projects be discussed publicly?Rather it is plausible to argue that the secrecy of the project is part of maintaining national interest.The second point that challenged my mind is the assertion that”…the only intention of this government[by introducing this project] is to complete its term and nothing more”. Given the incumbent party’s absolute political dominance and the existence of part-time,fragmented ,vision less opposition parties is it necessary for the EPRDF to dig this much just for the sake of maintaining power? NO.But if there is any time Ethiopia should initiate such grand projects on the hardly used big natural gift, it is the right time when its historical foe,Egypt, is not in a position to counter.So get away with this cadres,forget the EPRDF,who ever works for the realization of this project, he does to Ethiopia-the big picture.

  4. Ya.. its really nice..You made a beautiful presentation.. Thanks

  5. * ‘the rush and the secrecy that attends “The Great Renaissance Dam Project”?
    What is the rush and secrecy?

    *’the failure of Gilegle Gibe II and Tikaze hydro powers’
    Realy? Do they fail?

    *’Government people and cadres are obsessed with thinking in black and white.’
    Oh, the government and its cadres must have come from moon.
    Because, as you seem to imply, thinking in black and white terms is alient to Ethiopian politics. Right?
    (FYI – Cadre means just an officer or member of a political party)

    As to the rest, there are legitmate issues that needs to be discussed – and i hope in this week. But the issues and the problems are not as politicised as you wished to paint them.

    Please be open minded.
    At-least, the issue of Nile should make us think beyond our prejudices.

  6. * ‘the rush and the secrecy that attends “The Great Renaissance Dam Project”
    Where is the rush and secrecy?

    *’the failure of Gilegle Gibe II and Tikaze hydro powers’
    Really ? Did they fail?

    *’Government people and cadres are obsessed with thinking in black and white.’
    Oh, the government and its cadres must have come from moon.
    Because, as you seem to imply, thinking in black and white terms is alient to Ethiopian politics. Right?

    (FYI – Cadre means just an officer or member of a political party)

    As to the rest, there are legitmate issues that needs to be discussed – and i hope to do in this week. But the issues and the problems are not as politicised as you wished to paint them.

    Please be open minded.
    At-least, the issue of Nile should make us think beyond our prejudices.

  7. The whole point of the project is to get our mind of the instablity in North Africa.

  8. fasdamc@gmail.com

    what else Temesgen? Aite Daniel Berhane, our people are in agony over famine and you want us to forget all that has happened in the past and accept this crap from the gov’t? that’s being foolish my man! But the EPRDF politician who came up with this plan is a genius for a bad cause.

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