River basin development and human rights in Eastern Africa: a policy crossroads
This book offers a devastating look at deeply flawed development processes driven by international finance, African governments and the global consulting industry. It examines major river basin development underway in the semi-arid borderlands of Ethiopia, Kenya and South Sudan and its disastrous human rights consequences for a half-million indigenous people. The volume traces the historical origins of Gibe III megadam construction along the Omo River in Ethiopia—in turn, enabling irrigation for commercial-scale agricultural development and causing radical reduction of downstream Omo and (Kenya's) Lake Turkana waters. Presenting case studies of indigenous Dasanech and northernmost Turkana livelihood systems and Gibe III linked impacts on them, the author predicts agropastoral and fishing economic collapse, region-wide hunger with exposure to disease epidemics, irreversible natural resource destruction and cross-border interethnic armed conflict spilling into South Sudan. The book identifies fundamental failings of government and development bank impact assessments, including their distortion or omission of mandated transboundary assessment, cumulative effects of the Gibe III dam and its linked Ethiopia-Kenya energy transmission 'highway' project, key hydrologic and human ecological characteristics, major earthquake threat in the dam region and widespread expropriation and political repression.