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Leaders protest Ethiopia’s diversion of River Omo

By | April 25th 2009 at 00:00:00 GMT +0300

By Osinde Obarea

The Government has been asked to explain why Ethiopia has diverted River Omo’s water flow.

Leaders in Turkana said the Government remains silent although Ethiopia’s action is affecting residents.

"Water is a sensitive issue the world over yet we are just watching as the lake’s main supply is being diverted," Labour Minister John Munyes said.

The leaders also asked the Government to protect the country’s borders from encroachment by neighbouring countries.

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They said the move by Ethiopia to generate electricity using the river would affect fishing in Lake Turkana and affect more than 500,000 people.

Ethiopia entered into an agreement with Kenya to dam the river and produce electricity to be sold to the latter at low tariffs.

During the launching of Northern Kenya Ministry’s Strategic Plan 2012 in Lodwar early this week, the leaders accused the Government of accepting the Ethiopian proposal at the expense of Kenyans.

Uncanny deal

They said it was unrealistic for the Government to import 60 megawatts of power from Ethiopia instead of tapping power from local hot springs, such as Lomelo, which is capable of producing 400 megawatts.

Diverting River Oromo’s water to generate power is likely to affect the lake. The river contributes about 80 per cent of the lake’s water.

Munyes said he never participated in the agreement between Kenya and Ethiopia over the River Omo deal.

The river is in southern Ethiopia and it empties into Lake Turkana on the border with Kenya. It is an important prehistoric site.

Ethiopia River Omo
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