Posts tagged as: friends

Kenya:Wanjigi Challenge Excites Kenyans Online

By Mwende Kasujja

Kenyans online have taken up the #WanjigiChallenge posing with their friends and partners to mimic an iconic photo of businessman Jimi Wanjigi and his wife.

The businessman was pictured in his wife’s tight embrace as he spoke on Wednesday about a 72-hour police siege on his home in Muthaiga estate in Nairobi.

In the same photo, Nasa co-principal Moses Wetangula is captured flanking the couple while holding his own chest.

Mrs Wanjigi’s embrace of her troubled husband after the ordeal at their home by the police wowed many Kenyans online leading to the recreation.

#WanjigiChallenge it’s never a dull moment in Kenya😂😂😂😂carry on fam pic.twitter.com/gvcdKjNAAI

— Lowkey Shawty (@lilly_deluxe) October 18, 2017

😂😂😂@swalehmdoe has taken the #WanjigiChallenge lol 😂 @KoinangeJeff I’m waiting for yours cc @edailykenya pic.twitter.com/16Erxbk1ni

— Willis Raburu (@WillisRaburu) October 18, 2017

CREATIVITY: Kenyans are the most creative people in the world. How and when did we have the #wanjigichallenge pic.twitter.com/ixLozWCYcx

— Peter Aming’a (@Peter_aminga) October 18, 2017

Amidst all the confusion,it’s never a dull moment with Kenyans #wanjigichallenge 😂😂😂 pic.twitter.com/8zx64Bjfjf

— Linda Tuwey (@linda_tuwey) October 18, 2017

This is how we hold down our customers at DTB! 😂😂 ^Juma. #WanjigiChallenge pic.twitter.com/OweJ81ZTtQ

— #CustomerCentricBank (@DTBduo) October 18, 2017

Wololo… this #Wanjigichallenge is so dope! pic.twitter.com/uoyL0MV4zc

— Mary Wangari (@WangariMarie) October 18, 2017

Reverse #wanjigichallenge pic.twitter.com/oNOGWfX0G9

— Murage Munene (@ragemurage) October 18, 2017

Welcome shoppers. Customers is King#UchumiNgongHyper #wanjigichallenge @UchumiKenya @Kipngetichjk @CiruMansur @mtalamiii @benkimisa pic.twitter.com/gopYRFiH14

— RAYMOND K SEREM (@seremrays) October 18, 2017

Kenyans remain undefeated 😂😂😂 #WanjigiChallenge pic.twitter.com/wJ4rnnL7Ru

— Gitz (@iGitz_) October 18, 2017

Kenya

Election Boss Reads Riot Act to President and Opposition Leader

Electoral commission chief Wafula Chebukati on Wednesday cast doubts on the possibility of holding credible elections… Read more »

Why You Should Sit Less

By Gillian Nantume

If you spend the better part of your work day sitting in front of a computer or sitting at a desk shuffling papers, you are heading for trouble. It is not for nothing that wellness doctors advise 20 minutes of exercise every day. The advances in technology have made it such that we spend more time sitting down, whether it is at the office, at home, or while on travel.

Look at it this way, every morning, once you wake up, you sit on your bed for a few minutes, trying to orient yourself. Then, you sit down to apply your make-up and take breakfast. You spend at least one hour sitting in the car to work due to traffic jam. Then, you spend the entire day at your desk, before driving home, where you will sit to have supper and watch TV before sleeping.

Roughly we spend about seven to eight hours sitting a day, but this is not good for our health.

Back problems

Your sitting posture may be hurting your back, especially if you do not use an ergonomic chair. (It fits the user’s height and other body dimensions so as to support healthy body mechanics). It is difficult to maintain a straight-back sitting posture all day; at some point you will have to slouch.

Eric Katende, a physiotherapist with Friends Poly Clinic, says sitting for long hours without standing up to stretch or walk around for ten minutes has a bearing on the lower spine.

“When you sit, your legs do not carry any weight and neither does the upper part of your body.

This means that all the weight of the body is concentrated around the centre, pressuring the lumber region of the spinal code.”

The lumber region of the spinal code carries most of the body weight and is also flexible, permitting movement.

“If you sit for many hours the bones in the lumber vertebrae are being strained,” Katende says, continuing, “This makes them susceptible to wear and tear over time. Sitting for long periods overtime will cause the muscles holding those small bones to squeeze the bones, and this is when backache will set in.”

Wilbroad Makumbi, a physiotherapist with FUBA, says joints were made for motion so every time they are not being used, they become stiff and painful. “The muscles around them become weakened. Sitting for long hours stiffens the small joints in the vertebrae, flattens the lumbar curve, and causes the muscles to waste away.”

This exposes one to accelerated disc degeneration to the extent that when such a person engages in work that involves lifting or bending, they are at risk of acute low back strains or disc prolapses.

Neck pain

Nowadays, in an attempt to protect their backs, most people who spend the whole day sitting at work try to sit with their backs straight. According to Katende, this is wrong.

“Young people like to sit on the edge of their seats, and then make their backs straight. This posture will put a strain on the neck. The lower spinal code is supposed to be slightly carved when you are sitting down.”

Do not sit in the same position for more than 30 minutes. Change your position often as is practicable and take time to walk around at least every hour.

Ergonomic desk chairs usually have lumbar supports that can uphold your lower spinal code in the right position.

However, if you do not have access to such a chair, use a small pillow or rolled up towel to support your back when you sit. Make sure not to use a large pillow because it will place your spinal code in an awkward position.

“If you are hunched over your computer, chances are that your shoulders and neck will also suffer,” Katende advises.

Gaining weight

It goes without saying that exercises are core to maintaining a healthy weight. So, if you are sitting down the whole day, the weight is piling on, especially around your abdomen and behind.

Katende says: “Long hours without exercise will lead to flabby muscles. In their 30s, men put on weight around the abdomen while women put on weight around the hips. A lot of weight gain around the abdomen will strain the lower back.”

Damage to the internal organs

The more you move about, the more your muscles burn fat and blood flows more easily through the veins. A sedentary lifestyle can lead to high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, and cardiovascular disease.

“There is a possibility of a cumulative effect of sitting down for too long, over a number of years,” Katende says, adding, “It is possible that the nerves that connect the back to the abdomen could get damaged.”

Besides, sitting for too long slows blood circulation, leading to swollen ankles, varicose veins, or more seriously, blood clots.

Tips on getting by

If your job involves long sitting periods, you should:

– Find a reason to get up every hour and walk around.

– Drink a lot of water – at least, you will be walking to the toilet often.

– Make sure to exercise at least 150 minutes a week.

MP Storms Out of TV Show Over Offensive Tweet on Police Killings

By Nahashon Musungu

The high political tensions in the country played out on live TV on Tuesday when Rarieda MP Otiende Amollo walked out from NTV’s morning talk show over an offensive tweet on ” Luo deaths”.

Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichungwa has since disowned the Twitter handle that posted the tweet.

Despite continuous persuasion by host anchor Ken Mijungu to stay during the AM Live show, Mr Amollo walked out moments after Mr Ichungwa had walked in.

“Lasty Ken, allow me to leave. I cannot sit on a panel with Kimani Ichungwa because he sent a tweet that I find offensive, a tweet that suggests its okay to maim and kill Luos,” Dr Omollo said as he unplugged the microphone pinned on his chest.

Otiende Amollo threatens to walk out on LIVE TV if Kikuyu MP Kimani Ichung’wah joins #AMLiveNTV panel over an offensive tweet. pic.twitter.com/rURqE5JNGO

– NTV Kenya (@ntvkenya) October 17, 2017

Dr Omollo was referring to a tweet that went viral on Monday that applauded police killings in opposition strongholds.

Pinned to apologise by Mijungu, Mr Ichungwa however distanced himself from the Tweet.

“That’s not my Twitter account,” Mr Ichungwa said.

“I only have one Twitter account. I am in the process of having it verified. I even suspect these fake accounts are being created and operated by Nasa propagandists,” he added.

“To the Luo nation, if there is someone you will never find fueling ethnic hate, it’s Kimani Ichungwa. Most of my friends are Luos and Somalis.”

Despite this explanation, Dr Omollo still made good his threat to walk out of the show which also had Kiambu Senator Kimani Wamatangi in attendance.

Kenya

Ban on Anti-Polls Body Demos in City Centres Lifted

The High Court has temporarily lifted government ban on anti-IEBC demos in the central business districts of Nairobi,… Read more »

South Africa:New Tuberculosis Drugs Are More Effective and May Be Less Toxic. Why Are They Still Unavailable?

By Marelise Van Der Merwe

The start of 2017 saw concern over a sharp increase in the rise of drug- resistant TB in South Africa. TB is killing millions each year. Last week, Médecins Sans Frontières published promising early data on the use of two new TB drugs, delamanid and bedaquiline, among patients living with drug-resistant TB in Khayelitsha, Cape Town. But availability remains the biggest concern.

Sinethemba Kuse, 18, invited her friends and family to a celebratory party on 22 September. But it wasn’t a birthday or graduation: the Khayelitsha teenager had taken the last of her TB medication.

Kuse was diagnosed with multi-drug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) just before Christmas when she was just 16. Her grandmother had lost all hope, she says. She thought Kuse was going to die.

It was already a difficult time. “I lost my aunt in December, the one I was living with because my mother died when I was still a baby,” says Kuse. “The day my aunt was laid to rest, I started getting sick. I did not have an appetite. My skin colour was pale and I was shaking, sweating a lot at night. I did not enjoy all the things I…

South Africa

The Traditional Vegetable and Sweet Potato Research That’s Revolutionising the Way We Build Food and Nutrition Security in Africa

Research focusing on traditional crops that are often ignored and known as “orphan crops” shows they contain minerals… Read more »

Ethiopia:Housing Projects – Keep Away From Children

opinionBy Girma Feyissa

When children come into this world, the first people they are introduced to are their parents. And parents – not just biological parents but anyone who is responsible for the child’s growth – make an indelible imprint.

Friends in the neighbourhood are the next in line to align a child’s psychological makeup. Under certain circumstances, peers may be just as critical to one’s development as parents. Teachers also play a significant role, shaping children’s mind for the world that awaits them outside the schoolyards. For the highly curious, we should not forget books, movies and music too. These days the “Magic Box”, the TV screen, is one of a child’s closest friends. Technology has reached such a stage that one may innoculate himself from the world outside. But for those who watch with care, it could be a source of valuable information.

A child’s intellect can be moulded by all of these together. The child in the middle, whose brain is akin to a white sheet of paper, is innocent and can be positively and negatively affected by any of this. The environment in which we grow, more or less, creates us.

That environment is our protection against the vacuum. By this, I do not mean, the walls and all the ceiling amongst which we grow up, but the rest of the non-physical stuff that provides a psychological cushion for children. But what most people forget is that the physical components amongst which we live are just as crucial.

Think of the poorly designed houses, where one is expected to raise a family in.

All of the housing projects taking place around Addis Abeba come somewhat cheaply. Currently springing up into high-rise structures, they are built by the government for the benefit of the public. The owners are committed to covering a certain amount of the houses’ cost, while the government will subsidise the rest. Owners will pay the remaining amount over a particular period. The houses are awarded to the public in the form of a lottery.

The housing scheme has been classified as low-income housing and middle-income housing based on the ratio of the sum that is to be covered right away and which will be paid over the years with interest. Within the classification of the type of income levels, the houses are also broken down into studios, single bedroom or two bedroom homes.

The ground floor includes common spaces, trash bins, outdoor benches, green areas and, in some cases, even common laundries. But these facilities are unfortunately misused. Most of the ground level houses are sometimes utilised as public bars or Tej Bet.

For some people, the environment could be to their liking – they would get to drink and have fun with their friends. For others, it could be a hazard. Inhabitants of those buildings may want a tranquil domain where they can read or write. Others have children that should go to sleep on time for their school the next day.

It is perhaps time to start thinking about the kind of environment these housing projects create for children. In these neighbourhoods, kids meet with other kids. But they also have the added probability of encountering strangers that may introduce them to alcohol or other equally harmful substances.

There is also the health hazard. As has been reported time and again, the housing projects are built under unfavourable conditions with little attention given to their quality.

I experienced this firsthand when once accompanying my wife who needed to express felicitations to a friend who recently gave birth. Although the room was a two bedroom house – the most luxurious the housing projects could provide – it felt like a cage. It did not seem like an environment that could positively affect the psychological development of a child.

I may not have a background in architecture but it is not difficult to tell an apple from an orange in this case. Even the furniture could not adequately be accommodated somehow. Ethiopians expect their houses to reflect their wants and desires even if they are not interior designers with a degree. But they do their best, and all they ask for is an appropriate space to be awarded to them. What is even more unfair is that little children are exposed to the hazards of cracking walls, malfunctioning valves and smelly sewerage systems. I have also seen similar housing projects that are being constructed in Adama city. They look like they are soon to collapse than stand. It is also impossible to council one to rear a child there.

22 Useful Tips on How to Handle a Breakup

opinionBy Dayan Masinde

1. Be sure it’s what you want

Before you say goodbye make sure it’s what you want. Breaking up, separation, divorce should be the last option after every step to salvage the relationship/ marriage has been taken. Sometimes you have no choice but to end it because the person you have been loving has become a danger or a source of pain who shows no sign of changing despite your patience and compromise. Sometimes even if a break up is not what you want, a break up is what the other party is forcing you to accept.

2. “Remember breaking up is not evil”

When we love, we hope it lasts but in case it doesn’t don’t see it as a sin. You gave your all, but love takes two not one. Sometimes a break up is the best thing that can happen to you because it frees you from a bond you couldn’t walk out of by yourself and it is saves you from a mess you were setting yourself up for.

3. “Be grateful for the love that has been”

Truth is, every love starts off beautifully and every ending love had it’s good qualities before it became sour. Be grateful for the good your ex brought you.

4. “Don’t let sexual desire confuse you”

Some people run back to the ex because the sex was too good. So even if the ties should be cut they run back to their past because they don’t want to be without the sex if the ex was really giving it good. Don’t be confused

5. “Look back to see your fault”

Assess the reasons why the break up occurred and if you had any role to play in the collapse of the love. Was it something you did or said? It is important to know this to make yourself a better person and a better partner in case you find a new partner; lest you repeat the same wrongs and collapse your new love.

6. “Take charge of your emotions”

Have no thoughts of suicide, it is not the end of the world. There’s more to your life than what you had with your ex. Don’t destroy everything you have and can be just because the one you have been loving is now an ex. Keep calm. Miss your ex once in a while, may be even cry but grow up. Moving on is a choice we make.

7. “Study carefully your choices”

Perhaps the break up happened because you chose to love the wrong person. And perhaps you keep making the same wrong choices. Look back at every ex you’ve had throughout your life, do you see a trend? Do you notice you fall for the same trap? Fall for people who don’t have the qualities to sustain a relationship/ marriage?

8. “Keep the secrets of your ex”

No matter what happened to make your relationship/ marriage end, be civil and mature through the break up. When you were together there were secrets and confidential matters that your ex shared with you, now that you have separated don’t use what was shared in confidence to mess up your ex. Don’t spill the private matters of your ex to the public. Don’t upload the sex video you might have recorded with your ex for the public. Whatever happened between you two was special, keep it that way.

9. “Seek no revenge”

Do not get back at your ex. Don’t waste your time trying to harm your ex saying “If you can’t be with me no one else will”. No childish revenge games, use your energy on more important things, let your ex go in peace.

10. “Shield the innocent”

If there is anyone directly affected with the break up, especially if you had a child or children with your ex, shield them from experiencing trauma as a result of the break up. No matter how much you are hurting don’t take it out on the innocent.

11. “Avoid rebounds”

Yes, you will feel lonely but don’t rush into a new love to fill a void. Don’t use an innocent person to be a quick fix for your bleeding heart. Don’t be mad and decide to hurt others just because you’re hurting. Don’t use an innocent person to get back at your ex. Don’t go having casual sex thinking that will hurt your ex, your ex doesn’t care. Rebounds only end up hurting and confusing you plus the new person you’re dragging to your mess.

13. “Forgive”

Your ex hurt you yet you loved so much; whether you feel your ex wasted your time, introduced you to a harmful lifestyle, messed you up; forgive your ex. Your entire future will be shaped by a heart that has forgiven and is free, or a heart that has not forgiven and is a slave to anger and bitterness.

14. “Focus on you”

Now that you are single, focus on you. Build yourself, think more critically about your dreams and plans. Love you instead of looking at yourself as a failure just because of your ex. Learn new things about you, treat yourself well. Find you in case you lost yourself while loving your ex.

15. “Revive your social life”

Often when we are married/ in a relationship, we tend to spend so much time with our partner at the expense of our family and friendship bonds. Now that you have broken up, activate your social life even more. Surround yourself with family and friends that will not mock your pain but love you and challenge you to grow. Next time you fall in love, don’t concentrate only and unhealthily on your partner/spouse that you forget your friends and family.

16. “Don’t be desperate”

Stay sober, no using drugs and alcohol to numb the pain. Face the break up head on. Don’t look for attention: shouting loudly in clubs, wearing skimpy clothes, posting explicit photos of you on Facebook, flirting with anyone who comes by just to prove to yourself you are still attractive. Uphold your dignity.

17. “Don’t rush the healing process”

Healing takes time, don’t beat yourself up because you still find it hard. Be patient. Pray to God, lean on God.

18. “Minimize contact with the past”

Avoid courting your past yet you’re trying to build a future. Avoid meeting your ex especially in private settings, avoid getting cozy because it makes it easier to relapse back to what you two had. It is easier to go back to something that was no matter how bad it was, than to start a new love all over again. Delete your ex’s phone number if that will help keeping your ex at a distance when the break up is still fresh.

19. “Detox”

Clean yourself, remove any baggage or load from your past. Start a fresh, open a new chapter, close what was. Do not let the break up damage your self esteem.

20. “Refer back to your ideal partner list”

Go back to the list of qualities you look for in a potential partner, edit it if you must. Learn from your past and decide what qualities your next partner must have. Maybe you will learn your ex wasn’t the right one for you.

21. “Still believe in love”

You are a loving person, just because it didn’t work out with your ex doesn’t mean love doesn’t exist. Never let a wrong relationship destroy the love in you or your belief in love. Don’t harden your heart, love doesn’t hurt people, it is sometimes the wrong choices of the people we choose to love that hurts us.

22. “Do not turn your ex into an idol”

An idol is anything or anyone you place above God claiming you cannot live without. You have God but you claim your life is worthless without your idol, thereby feeling empty. Your ex is not God, God is your everything. There is more to life than marriage.

Nigeria: British Airways Sacks Stewardess Behind Racist Joke Against Nigerian Passengers

British Airways has sacked Joanne Wickenden, a stewardess who posted a racist Snapchat rant attacking Nigerian passengers after she was called in for a two-hour meeting with bosses.

Joanne Wickenden sparked outrage after recording the racist clip in her BA uniform before flying from London Heathrow to Abuja on Friday night.

In a statement today the airline said ‘she no longer works for British Airways’, adding: ‘We expect the utmost professionalism from our staff when they are representing British Airways.’

The 23-year-old, who wants to be an actress, told friends ‘I am not a racist’ and claimed the sickening video was just a joke.

She told MailOnline: ‘I have been framed by another BA employee. They were encouraging me, egging me on to say things. They were recording me and sent it around to our friends.’

She added: ‘I don’t want to fly anymore.’

A friend said that the other colleague wanted her to impersonate what goes on on the flight.

Nigeria

Low Economic Productivity Linked to Shortage of Women Engineers

The immediate past president of the Federation of African Engineering Associations (FAEO), and one-time president of the… Read more »

South Africa: Electricity Theft – Kliptown ‘Hero’ Brings Light to Forgotten Community

analysisBy Bheki C. Simelane

Sparks sits in his shack in an informal settlement in Kliptown smoking a pipe with his friends. Just above his head a tangle of wires snakes out of the shack in all directions, a veritable distribution board supplying power to hundreds of residents of one of Johannesburg’s oldest townships. His connections are illegal but it’s the only way residents here can access electricity. By BHEKI C SIMELANE.

To residents of the informal settlement, Sparks – a nickname given to him by the community – is a hero. For nearly a decade, the 24-year-old school drop-out, has shimmied up and down electricity poles of Eskom and Passenger Rail Agency of South Africa (Prasa) providing shack dwellers with power where Eskom has failed to do so. He is the reason many children in the settlement can have a hot cup of tea before heading to school. And why in the winter, they are able to keep warm, despite their empty bellies.

Sparks, who has so far evaded arrest, has no formal training and has never worked for Eskom, learnt the “trade” by watching and helping others who steal electricity. “This is not solely just about providing electricity for my community, I’m actually…

South Africa

Understanding the Court on Polygynous Muslim Marriages

Wills Act unfairly discriminates against second and subsequent wives Read more »

Kenya: Why Election Body Boss Wants Three ICT Officers Out

Photo: Evans Habil/Daily Nation

IEBC chairman Wafula Chebukati addresses journalists at Anniversary Towers, Nairobi, on September 1, 2017.

By Ibrahim Oruko

Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) chairman Wafula Chebukati wants three officers in the ICT directorate suspended in what he described as necessary action to restore waning public confidence in the commission’s ability to prepare and deliver a credible repeat presidential poll.

In a leaked internal memo on Tuesday, Mr Chebukati directed the chief executive Ezra Chiloba to suspend ICT director James Muhati, ICT coordinator Paul Mugo and ICT officer Boniface Wamae as the turf wars between the commission and secretariat arising from the nullification of the August 8 presidential election went a notch higher.

INTERFERENCE

The trio managed the commission’s Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP) platform in the General Election and the chairman says they fell short in assisting the commission to successfully discharge its collegial and constitutional mandate.

Further, Mr Chebukati notes that the officers acquired additional rights to delete files from the commission’s servers and other escalated privileges to the FTP server under the chairperson/national returning officer account.

“The ICT security framework and security measures deployed in the General Election failed to eliminate the risk of external interference as users with foreign IP address could log onto the commission’s system and perform functions before, during and after the elections,” Mr Chebukati said.

ELECTORAL FLAWS

The Nation learnt that the decision to suspend the trio was arrived at after an attempt by the chairman to lobby the commissioners to suspend Mr Chiloba failed on Monday.

The chairman had summoned the commission for a meeting that was to deliberate Mr Chiloba’s responses to the memo from the chairman, which blamed the chief executive for the systemic flaws in the August 8 General Election.

And even though the commissioners deliberated on the matter for the better part of Monday, there was no consensus on how to deal with Mr Chiloba who appears to enjoy protection from “forces within the government”.

PETITION

Mr Chebukati is said to have been unhappy with Mr Chiloba’s responses, pointing out they raised more questions than answers and urged the commissioners to back his bid to suspend Mr Chiloba, pending investigations.

However, there was no consensus and the matter was put on the vote, upon which Mr Chebukati lost.

The new memo popped up on the day Mr Chebukati failed to meet a group of church leaders who had been scheduled to deliver to him a petition that sought to plead with him to take necessary measures to identify and isolate those who were responsible for the mess that led to the nullification of the presidential election.

USER RIGHTS

Led by Bishop Aggrey Mukilima of the Friends Church, the clerics demanded that the IEBC takes steps to urgently agree with stakeholders on the way forward in line with the Supreme Court ruling.

In yet another memo, Mr Chebukati accuses the ICT officers of conferring on themselves super user rights on the commission’s server in respect of the presidential election and demands an explanation from Mr Chiloba the scope of the user rights privileges the officers exercised in his name, whether these were delegated powers or assigned to any other person.

“You have not responded as to why a server that was meant for day to day operations by staff was used for official purpose of transmitting forms 34Bs,” Mr Chebukati tells Mr Chiloba in the memo.

In the explosive memo, Mr Chebukati had directed Mr Chiloba to explain why some election result forms lacked security features, explain the purchase of satellite phones that never worked and why hundreds of polling stations did not send results of the presidential election to the national tallying centre.

Africa: Fears Over Ethiopian Dam’s Costly Impact On Environment, People

analysisBy Sean Avery, University of Leicester

Ethiopia’s GIBE III hydropower dam is now operational. However, rights groups have raised concerns over the impact that it is having on downstream communities and the environment. The Conversation Africa’s Samantha Spooner asked expert Sean Avery about the dam and the huge controversy that has surrounded this project.

Why was the dam constructed?

Ethiopia’s highlands enjoy high rainfall that generates huge rivers, with much of this water flowing out into other countries. This includes almost 70% into the Nile Basin and 14% to Kenya’s Lake Turkana.

Because of this huge resource, the country’s hydropower potential, at 45,000 MW, is the second highest in Africa, second only to the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Hydropower is a renewable energy resource. Dams are constructed to raise the river’s water to a high level for release to drive turbines within the dam’s power station that generate electricity.

Ethiopia is the second most populous country in Africa and is developing its hydropower potential to meet its domestic electricity demand and also to export power to neighbouring countries. It is developing various sources, including the Omo-Gibe basin’s potential through the Gibe cascade of hydropower dams along the length of the Omo river.

Gibe III is the most recently commissioned project in the Gibe cascade and at 243m height is the tallest dam in Africa. Its power station’s installed generating capacity of 1,870 MW is not far short of the electricity generating capacity of the whole of Kenya in 2015 – 2,295 MW.

How long did it take and how much did it cost?

The dam construction started in 2006 and was officially inaugurated in December 2016.

The project cost is stated to be 1.47 billion Euros (USD$1.75 billion) with funding coming from the Government of Ethiopia and Exim bank of China.

What is it expected to produce in terms of energy output and which countries are set to benefit?

Gibe III’s powerlines will feed into the Ethiopian national grid and onwards to the southern African electricity grid through Kenya. Gibe III will contribute roughly half its power output of 1,870 MW to Ethiopia itself. The rest will be exported to neighbouring countries – namely, 500 MW to Kenya, 200 MW to Djibouti and 200 MW to Sudan.

The project has been labelled as the “world’s most controversial dam”, why is this?

At the start, the procurement of the dam contractor was determined to be non-transparent by the World Bank, and international donors shunned the dam. Construction also started without a license from Ethiopia’s Environmental Protection Agency.

There have since been ongoing complaints about environmental and social impacts downstream, including villagisation and displacement of indigenous people.

There is also controversy regarding Kenya’s Lake Turkana. This is because the Omo river, on which Gibe III dam is built, is its umbilical cord. 90% of the inflow to Lake Turkana depends on the river, which conveys fresh water and vital nutrients (such as nitrogen) that sustain the lake, and whose floods provide stimulus for fisheries breeding.

At least half a million people depend of the lake. Lake Turkana is also the world’s largest desert lake and has three national parks that together form a World Heritage site. Due to these concerns, the Friends of Lake Turkana Trust challenged the project in Kenyan Courts, but the case stalled.

The project also lacked adequate social and environmental assessments. A downstream environmental and social impact assessment was produced three years after construction started, but it didn’t study its impact over the border in Kenya, and wrongly stated that the dam would create a positive water balance for the lake with consequential irrigation abstraction impacts on the lake were not not taken into account.

There were independent efforts by international donors, namely the European Investment Bank and the African Development Bank, to assess the impacts of the project. But these were gazumped when Chinese donors agreed to fund the power station. The Chinese donors did no independent environmental or social reviews.

A final controversy is that the Omo’s cascade of power stations has replaced the river’s natural flow cycle with regulated, man-made cycles. These depend on the electricity demands from the Ethiopian national electricity grid and its international connections. A consequence of this is that the river’s annual floods are smoothed out and the low flows will be increased.

It has been claimed that this flood management is beneficial as floods can lead to loss of life. However, local people in Lower Omo depend on the annual flood, as they traditionally cultivate the riverbanks following inundation by the flood.

What will its impact on the environment be?

There are serious environmental concerns.

Firstly, Gibe III’s flow regulation and water abstractions will permanently alter the Omo’s natural hydrology. This will potentially destroy Lake Turkana’s ecology and fisheries.

Secondly, Gibe III’s river regulation has enabled irrigated plantation development. A potential of 450,000 hectares of agricultural development in the Omo-Gibe Basin has been mentioned. So far, 100,000 hectares from within the Omo and Mago National Parks and Tama Wildlife Reserve are being developed into sugar plantations. And downstream, 50,000 hectares has been allocated to a foreign cotton plantation developer. There will be other schemes requiring water too.

Through abstracting irrigation water, these plantations will deplete the Omo river influx to Lake Turkana. The lake is already semi-saline, said to be on the salinity brink for some species, and depletion of inflows will increase the salinity levels. Also, chemical releases from plantation developments may adversely affect the lake.

Thirdly, the dams will cause a massive drop in Lake Turkana’s water level. When the Gibe III reservoir was filled in 2016, it caused the lake to fall two metres. The Gibe IV dam, also called Koysha, will be next in the Gibe cascade to be built, and this in turn will deplete the lake by 0.9 metres during its filling, forecast for 2020.

In 1996, the Omo-Gibe River Basin Integrated Development Plan had forecast that the Basin’s water demand in 2024 would require 32% of river’s discharge, 94% being for irrigation purposes. This is becoming a reality, with recent studies demonstrating that as a consequence, the lake level could fall 10-20 metres. As the lake is on average about 30 metres deep, the potential environmental consequences are significant.

And what of the future for Lake Turkana?

Warnings of environmental impact have been sounded for decades. The Omo-Gibe River Basin Integrated Development Plan had in 1996 warned that a bilateral agreement was needed between Kenya and Ethiopia before tampering with the Omo river discharges.

Time will tell, but at least there is now a trans-boundary forum brokered by UNEP, albeit belated, and somewhat lethargic in its progress. It is hoped that this initiative will be sustained and will critically review the development options and impacts.

Disclosure statement

Sean Avery is affiliated with; University of Leicester, Water Resource Associates, GIBB Africa Ltd, Kenya Wetlands Biodiversity Research Team and National Museums of Kenya

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