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HomeOpinionTicking time on the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)!!!

Ticking time on the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD)!!!

Ethiopian Dam _ Hiwot
Hiwot Abebe

By: Hiwot Abebe Mekuanent
Updated on May 31, 2023 12:28 P.M. Addis Ababa

The River Nile is formed from the White Nile, which originates from Lake Victoria and the Blue Nile, from Lake Tana of Ethiopia. The two rivers meet at Sudan and enter the long journey in the desert of Sahara, to reach Egypt.  Though the White Nile is bigger in size than the Blue Nile, its contribution to the Nile is about 15% of its water. That means 85% of the Nile water is from the Blue Nile. Though Ethiopia is a huge contributor to the river, there is no or little benefit it draws from such resource, while it is extensively used by both Sudan and Egypt, to build their economy.

Though a mega project on Nile could resolve the revolving shortage of electricity in the country, only 44.98% of the Ethiopian population has access to electricity, leaving more than 55% of the population in the dark.  

Nile remained a lifeline to the Sudanese and Egyptian people for centuries, perhaps from the beginning of their very existence as sovereign states. Egypt and Sudan have the gift of nature to use the Blue Nile. Egypt spent years working against the right of Ethiopia to construct a dam on Blue Nile. Ethiopia had been victimized by the Egyptian government for many years. Egypt consistently worked to disable Ethiopia, from building a dam to addressing its high demand for electric power. The government of Egypt lobbied so many donors not to lend Ethiopia any amount of money to build projects on the river Nile. Currently, Ethiopia is in the process of finalizing the Renaissance dam, on the Nile and it is at the brink of filling the dam, which will hit turbines, produces thousands of electric power and flow to the low land as usual.

However, the government of Egypt is playing a political drama to try to halt the process of filling the dam by calling for unfair and exclusive debate against the interest of Ethiopia. Egypt’s greed for water and its unfair position is causing some social and political turbulence in both countries. 

Since 2015, Ethiopia entered into a new era of continuous social demonstration and uprising. The movement of the youth against the dictator ruling party led by the late prime minister Meles Zenawi stagnated the work of the dam for some time, and later a new prime minister emerged from the same party, that was leading our country for twenty-seven years.

The new prime minister, who was sworn in April 2018, was welcomed like a celebrity because of his speech and the sense of unifying the country. In the beginning, people were happy with him when he widened the political arena and created peace with Eritrea, though it did not last long.

Primarily, the current prime minister, Dr. Abiy Ahmed said that the renaissance dam was built for political consumption and that it may take more than ten years to complete it. Sadly, the general manager of the dam was found dead in his car at the Meskel square in the city of Addis Ababa. The public pressure woke the prime minister up, and he began to work on the renaissance dam. On his trip to Egypt, he swore in front of the president and high-ranking officials of the country that he will not affect the interest of Egypt on the Nile, which was inappropriate and illegal to give such consent without permission from the Ethiopian people.

Local private news agents argue that the prime minister was in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia to sign an agreement with the Eritrean president, which is kept secret from the Ethiopian public until this day. Many politicians were telling their fear about the honesty of our prime minister, and they doubted that he night has betrayed our country to buy temporary financial support from those countries that are manipulated by the government of Egypt. Later, the fear of many Ethiopians was realized when the negotiation between Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan was taken to US and Russia at different times, which is irrelevant to the nature of the negotiation. 

The new prime minister of Ethiopia allowed the government of Egypt to go back to its position that was before the building of the dam. For any logical person, it is easy to understand that any dam is built to hold water. Due to the weak leadership and the inconsistency in his leadership, Egyptian government went back to point zero and began to discuss on how to avoid filling the dam with water in July of 2020. It was the weakness of the prime minister that took Ethiopia in to the negotiation table with a defensive position. 

The renaissance dam is built on funds raised by Ethiopians and Ethiopian origin individuals residing in the diaspora. It is property of millions of Ethiopians, who bought bond by starving their family, having a good faith that the future of their children will change. However, this prime minister chose to go back to a negotiation table with a shaky and limp position. It is the best interest of all Ethiopians to see the start of filling the dam in the rainy season of July 2020 and all Ethiopians are looking forward to see the beginning of the process, despite any concern from Egypt or Sudan.

After excessive pressure from the public the prime minister and his government were forced to take of the negotiation from other irrelevant bodies to the African Union. The African Union had a meeting yesterday, and an agreement had been reached. Sudan and Egypt announced that Ethiopia has agreed to stop the filling of the dam until the next negotiation, but the Ethiopian government declared that the dam would start to be filled within the time set to do so. As usual, three or more confusing and jargon briefings were released by the Ethiopian government. The press secretary agreed that an agreement would be reached in two weeks, and that was the agreement signed yesterday, but he affirmed that the filling of the dam would be strictly done by the scheduled time. On the other hand, if the negotiation is to be started in two weeks, the filling of the dam will not happen. There is no need to negotiate if there is no other topic to discuss and if the dam will start to be filled by the schedule. The main reason for the negotiation was to halt the filling of the dam, and if the dam is going to be filled, there is nothing to negotiate. In this case, it shows that the Ethiopian government is not telling the truth to its own people. 

All Ethiopians are anxiously waiting to see if the dam is filled with water to be used for its intended purpose. However, government officials are trying to ease public anger by telling non-existing facts. If Ethiopia allows the passing of this July to start filling the dam, it is unlikely to start filling the dam any other day easily. July is the month that the country gets the highest rainfall, most of which is based on relief rainfall. July is the time that Sudanese and Egyptians became flooded by the Nile. It is easy for the country to retain a huge amount of water than in any other month of the year.

Ethiopians are watching the ticking clock, and this is the strongest test to the government of Dr. Abiy Ahmed to ensure that he works for the best interest of Ethiopia and for others. It is time to show that he can lead the country beyond his outspokenness. 

Egypt took advantage of the Lack of good leadership in Ethiopia to push its interest in the dam to its maximum and unacceptable level. We Ethiopians do not blame Egypt, but our prime minister, who betrayed our country and left it without a strong position for the sake of his hunger for power. He should not have taken our interest into a negotiation table from the very beginning. At that time, Egypt was trying to intimidate Ethiopia by training soldiers in the nearby country and by disseminating false propaganda of war against Ethiopia. 

It is good for the world to know how greedy the Egyptian government is when it wants to use the Nile river by denying the right of the owners of the source. Ethiopia owns the Blue Nile, and it is an indisputable right to use its resources to liberate its people from poverty. It is unimaginable to any normal-minded person what Egypt is doing to exclude Ethiopia from its own resources. 

I hope Dr. Abiy and his team will understand the eagerness and latent anger of Ethiopians toward his government due to the weak handling of our national interest. I hope the dam will start to be filled on July 1/2020, in Ethiopian Calendar, which will be around July 7.

The Ethiopian public is aware of the wordplay and cheating of government officials in the past two years. No more misinformation will resolve this serious concern of national interest, and it is better for the Ethiopian government to listen to its own people and start filling the dam with whatever risk from the unfair government of Egypt. Our national interest is to affirm our right to use the Nile water to produce electricity and eradicate poverty. 

The writer could be reached at afomith@gmail.com

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6 COMMENTS

  1. I am in congruence with the author of this article on most part except for this phrase: The renaissance dam, that was founded by the late Prime Minister Meles Zenawi. That is not totally true. The dam was conceived by the late Emperor Haile and he even had a thorough survey taken at the same present site and vicinity in the 1960’s. It was on a record that he might have received dire warnings from friends and major financial outfits had also threatened him with a complete cessation of all financial aids to the country. I know that because I was in Egypt at that time and remember the commotion it generated there. I remember the barrage of threats to the old country by officials and blubber mouth hirelings in the media. I was told by one classmate how Field Martial Hakim would only need two or three of his jets to wipe out the entire country and the emperor himself. Mind you it was the time when Hakim or Nasser for that matter could not defeat the ragtag militia of North Yemen and to resort using internationally banned chemical weapon. And we all what happened to those indomitable pilots that ‘stroke terror’ at the heart of the late emperor. The Six Day War erupted and every one of those mighty Hakim’s jets were burnt to smithereens while the pilots were engaged in an all night orgies with fresh ‘imports’ from the caucuses. And we all know what happened to Field Marshal Hakim himself. It was a dandy ‘case closed’ moment for me. The fact of the matter is the late PM was pushed into it by incessant pressure from patriotic engineers within the administration. The same blue print from the first survey taken in the 1960’s has been used extensively in building the current dam. So all we can say is the starting ‘grunt’ work was already done more than 45 years prior to 2011. I hope the truth does not hurt here.

  2. Mintesinot, ዛሬ ደግሞ Hiwot Abebe Mekuanent ሆነህ ቀረብክ?

    አጥብቆ ያሰረ ዘቅዝቆ ይሽከማል

    Ethiopia is already filling the dam. It’s diplomatic speak so relax please. Let them do their job. They’re handling it perfectly.

    ሀምሌና ሙሽራ ሳይገለጡ ነው

  3. Ha! ha! Another TPLFite scribble masked with ‘Ethiopianism’. In a few words you praise Meles and demonise Abiy. The formula is already well understood. Try another trick, This didn’t work, it won’t work.

    By the way, what is your photo for?

  4. How sad to see this coming from a woman with typical an Ethiopian name (not Tigire/Woyane) and resemblance to Ethiopians (again not Tigire/Woyane). Shame on you and your entire group of Woyanes for the blatant lies. You are all good in nothing but lies, greed, in treason and genocide. You are all discarded by Ethiopians into footnote of history or shall I say garbage bin. There is no comeback for Woyane after this despite your shallow scribble you hope might help. “Mot LEWEYANE”

  5. Dear Desta

    You shouldn’t fall into their trap – Digital Weyane have mastered deceit (as it is in their nature). They use pen-names adopting typical Amhara and Oromo names to confuse and bring discord among Ethiopians of various backgrounds.

    Just look above the comment by Mitmita. She/he responded appropriately to their effort of deception.

    I bet the original name of the write is not Hiwot Abebe Mekuanent. It is deliberately coined to impress that she is not of Gurage, Oromo, or any other ethnicity but definitely Amhara. For example, why put third name Mekuanent other than to suggest, with out doubt, that she is of Amhara background?

    I also bet that the writer may not necessarily be a female. Adding a photo is just another deception by these smart alecks. (See my comments above).

    Hhhhmmmm! A lady who is so confident that she reveals her full name including her grandfathers’, why is that her email address has no relation at all to her name or its parts?

    Hey! with out the intention I’m turning into a brilliant detective! Don’t you agree?

    But for a moment let’s say she is a female and also from Amhara background. So what? There can be misguided individuals who knowingly or unknowingly ‘work for the enemy’. The good thing is they are few in numbers. How many ‘Hiwot Abebe Mekwanent’s’ have you come across? I believe not many. Whenever they are found they will be exposed!

    Any way, let us give her credit, though. the annoying lies about Meles and Abiy aside, she informed us the Blue Nile and White Nile meet to form the Nile! You can easily see how brilliant she is! ha! ha! ha!

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