August 12, 2011

Kenya’s MPs have waded into a diplomatic land mine accusing Ethiopia of being a hostile State.

The angry MPs, including assistant ministers, said Ethiopia, Kenya’s neighbour to the North, was “unfriendly”, for not only allowing its citizens to attack Kenyans with impunity, but also for building a dam that will make Lake Turkana dry.

The lawmakers approved a resolution instructing President Kibaki and Prime Minister Raila Odinga to push the government of Ethiopia to stop the construction of a huge hydro power dam on River Omo.

The MPs argued that River Omo supplied 90 per cent of the water in Lake Turkana, and if the dam went on, then the water levels in the lake will drop significantly. They added that the salinity of the lake will increase, hugely affecting the ecosystem.

Dr Wilbur Otichillo (Emuhaya, ODM) who sponsored the motion said 300,000 people will be affected in Kenya if the dam project, which is almost halfway complete, went on. He said the lake will lose three quarters of its volume following the project scheduled for completion next year.

“This House resolves that the Kenya Government officially demands … Ethiopia stops the construction of the Gibe 3 Hydro Power dam until an independent and comprehensive environmental and social impact assessment is undertaken and appropriate mitigation measures put in place,” said Dr Otichillo as he rallied MPs to support his motion.

Mr Josephat Nanok (Turkana South, ODM) continued with the tirade against foreign governments accusing the Chinese of going ahead with the project’s funding, while the rest of the investors have withheld.

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