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Khartoum demo damns Ethiopian dam

February 26 - 2020 KHARTOUM
A group of musicians play traditional Blue Nile wind instruments during a protest in Khartoum on Tuesday against the Renaissance Dam negotiations with Ethiopia (Picture: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu)
A group of musicians play traditional Blue Nile wind instruments during a protest in Khartoum on Tuesday against the Renaissance Dam negotiations with Ethiopia (Picture: Mahmoud Hjaj/Anadolu)

Activists from Blue Nile state organised a protest vigil in front of the Council of Ministers offices in Khartoum yesterday. They point to the dangers posed by the construction of the Renaissance Dam in the Blue Nile in Ethiopia, such as low water levels in the river as the reservoir fills up.

The vigil, in which a number of activist groups participated, called for an end to negotiations on the Renaissance Dam. They want Sudan and Ethiopia to adhere to the results of previous negotiations.

Ethiopia started building the Renaissance Dam in 2011 without consulting Egypt or  Sudan. Colonial treaties give Egypt a veto on any project upstream that would affect its water levels. Ethiopia, which was not party to these treaties, does not feel bound by these documents.

A general view of the Blue Nile as it passes through the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam (GERD),
near Guba in Ethiopia (Eduardo Soteras / AFP)

 

The Blue Nile provides 85 per cent of all the water in the Nile. Negotiations on how quickly Ethiopia will fill the dam’s reservoir have been going on for years.

When completed the 145-metre-high and 1.8-kilometre-long Renaissance Dam will be the largest hydroelectric power plant in Africa. Sudan is expected to profit from the electricity that the dam will generate.

The Blue Nile state protestors in Khartoum also demanded the dismissal of the Minister of Irrigation, involvement of the people in Blue Nile state in the file, and compensation for environmental and social damages.

Water Authority

Employees of the Khartoum State Water Authority organised a protest in front of the Council of Ministers offices yesterday as well. They demanded the appointment of a new general manager and condemned corruption within the authority. They also don’t want to the authority to fall under the Ministry of Infrastructure.

The participants in the rally warned of the consequences of not properly maintaining the authority's wells, and for not preparing properly for water pollution in the summer. They accused parties within the authority of using shortages of water to bring down the transitional government.

They threatened to engage in a strike if their demands are not met.

 


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