Building Baby Dams to Save the Mother Dam: Ethiopia’s Option

Nile Dam _ Ethiopia
The Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam. File (EBC)

The Queen of Sheba
March 2, 2020

An air of threat and
war-mongering against Ethiopia is blowing through the deserts of the Egypt Arab
Republic to impose colonial-era agreements on the country in total disregard to
a fair and equitable share of the Abay River, which is commonly known as the
Blue Nile. Ethiopia, which was never colonized and not party to these
agreements, has been openly threatened and explicitly sabotaged by successive governments
of the Egypt Arab Republic since time immemorial from harnessing its God-given
rights to its water bodies without causing harm to downstream countries. This latest
threat is not the first, nor it may be the last.

Anticipated role of South Africa

The head of state of
the Egypt Arab Republic just stepped down as the President of the African Union
who was supposed to have played a key role in finding an “African solution to
an African problem”. And yet, selfishly, deceptively and indecorously insisted on
a third party, non-African “mediators” to intervene, in utter contravention of
the Cooperative Framework Agreement that the countries have officially agreed in

The Egypt Arab
Republic have shamefully disavowed its continental commitment and
responsibility to observe, serve and carry out the key principle of the African
Union which embraces “African solution to an African problem” in advancing
security, peace and self-confidence of the continent. In fact, it has selfishly
insisted on the inequitable colonial era agreements which Ethiopia, the country
which contributes more than 85 percent of the water, was arrogantly ignored by
the signing parties at the time.

In a blatantly unfair
manner that tramples on its sovereignty, the partisan observers, who turned
into self-declared facilitators and enforcers, left Ethiopia with a little
wiggle room for continuing in the engagement. One would hope that the new
Presidency of the African Union, now occupied by South Africa–with a fresh
history and first-hand account of such forms of injustices–would play a
positive role.

“Hurling some missiles”

This as it may, the Egypt
Arab Republic may be feverishly planning to wage an open and blatant war on
Ethiopia to recklessly destroy the nearly 70 percent completed Renaissance Dam.
Ethiopia may appear a light-weight against the Arab Republic’s ostensible
military superiority, thanks to external support. Well, it may be important to note
that the Arab Republic also has a massive Aswan Dam—and lives in a glass house.
Oh yes, Aswan was built without any consultation with Ethiopia—the mother of

Needless to say,
Ethiopians take immense national pride in building the Dam and thus are hugely
eager to its successful completion; and the fallout from this ill-advised and
willful threat may be too costly to contemplate, and way too enduring for generations,
for sure.

As Prime Minister Dr.
Abiy Ahmed of Ethiopia tacitly conjectured a while back, the Arab Republic may
be tempted to “hurl some missiles” possibly on the Dam or vital institutional
and infrastructure networks. Yes, Ethiopia may not have the capacity to
directly and proportionately respond to this not-so-improbable aggression, but
the fortunes of Ethiopians are not as dead-ended as one may wish to think.

Ungrateful nation

Ethiopia possesses an
enormous arsenal of endless, terrestrial, virtually “free” and indestructible,
but supremely powerful natural missiles which furiously cascade down from the
breath-taking Ethiopian highlands, mountains, valleys and gorges. They have
continued to empower the mighty “Nile of Egypt” in the form of hundreds of
thousands of streams, rivers and tributaries—since time immemorial.

These very natural
resources have continued to nourish the thankless nation which has consumed and
thrived on the water—without gratitude, let alone, compensation. Regrettably, the
Arab Republic has covertly and openly conspired to systematically and
strategically weaken and divide Ethiopia—for centuries so that the river flows without
any use by its natural owner.

Ethiopia may find it
appropriate to refuse to play by the uncharitable, if not uncivilized, warfare
book which preaches an eye-for-an-eye should the war between two countries
broke out. In reaction to the ever-belligerent position of the Arab Republic, Ethiopia
could initiate a sustained campaign to utilize all its waterbodies making up
the “Mighty Nile” in a determined, if not retaliatory, manner. An official
reaction to resort to such a “passive” national campaign—in retaliation for the
aggression—is easy to contemplate given the unflinching national resolve and
popular support to build the Dam—oh, yes, on its own.

Building baby dams

Ethiopia may need to consider
that the effort to build the Renaissance Dam, the “Mother of All Dams”, is pursued
along with building a thousand “baby dams” (BBDs) in the emerging country as a
renewed strategy for its development. Ethiopia may have to actively and
strategically, formally and informally, officially and unofficially, implicitly
and explicitly engage in BBDs in the entire catchment area of Abay, which
stretches several hundreds of miles within the country, should the Arab
Republic dare attack it.

While Ethiopia has to defend
itself resolutely, it may need to refuse to send its natural missiles, by instead
building thousands of small-scale, off-the radar “baby dams” at every hamlet
conceivable in retaliation for the Arab Republic’s man-made missiles. It should
be that BBDs need not be sanctioned by a government or external funding entity
but simply built, managed, filled and operated by “poor and illiterate”
peasants of Ethiopia—the very victims of the Arab Republic’s explicit and
hidden hands of conspiracy and destabilization. Oh, yes, it may be a slightly
onerous task for the Arab Republic to hunt down every Ethiopian peasant
involved in BBDs.

To be sure, a BBD may be
any form of water-containment effort, regardless of size or volume, directed at
the country’s development from tourism to agro-industry supported by public and
private investments and systematically advanced through a strategic national

A futile attempt?

One may be tempted to
call the Egypt Arab Republic to mobilize its citizens to join forces in supporting
Ethiopia’s Green Campaign which has an enormous direct benefit to its own
insatiable appetite to water as a win-win situation. It would also be an
opportune time for the Egypt Arab Republic to reset the diplomatic clock by
desisting from threats and sabotages. Alas, this may appear naïve, if not
foolish, given the Republic’s well-recorded, enduring and regrettable history
of conspiracy to keep Ethiopia weak, divided and under-developed.

In simple terms, a
thriving, developed and strong Ethiopia, regardless of the outcome of the
current Dam impasse, is not simply palatable to the Egypt Arab Republic. For
that matter, one may extend this observation to the rest of sub-Saharan Africa,
especially those in the respective riparian region with a potential to use
their God-given water resources effectively.

It is an outrage—and an insult—to all Africans and African-descendants around the world who bravely defeated colonialism—to witness its ugly head rearing in the Egypt Arab Republic as it dangerously strives to impose it on Ethiopia—and it neighbors.

Editor’s note : The author the article wrote anonymously as ” The Queen of Sheba .”

Join the conversation. Like borkena on Facebook and get Ethiopian News updates regularly. As well, you may get Ethiopia News by following us on twitter @zborkena

3 Responses to "Building Baby Dams to Save the Mother Dam: Ethiopia’s Option"

  1. girma   March 2, 2020 at 1:47 pm

    Ethiopia should divert some of the Nile water to the eastern part of Ethiopia to increase the irrigated capacity of the country.
    The proposal submitted to the government some 20 years ago by Ethiopian engineering firm.
    let see what dippy Egypt would do.

  2. Alem   March 3, 2020 at 7:34 am

    I like the idea of BBDs or even for the direct attract from Egypt, Ethiopia may use the Nile river as a waste disposal, specifically hospitals radioactive waste.

  3. Zala   March 17, 2020 at 7:08 am

    But if we pollute the Nile water wouldn’t that affect Sudan too?


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.