Aquifer Water Wars, Oil wars? Focus in Northern Kenya
They say that Africa is the next big economy but the truth is, most of us Africans don’t know that yet or even what it means in the first place. We live in countries with vast opportunities we don’t exploit. Minerals, fertile lands, man power, good climate but we still wallow in the light of massive corruption, mismanagement & escapism. We keep planning & that’s almost all we do. Plan & plan & plaaannnn….. Until before we know it, whatever project we were to do stalled a long time ago & the funds that were to be used gone & forgotten. And that’s why am skeptical of the latest aquifer discovered in my beloved country Kenya.
All of a sudden, our focus has shifted from the capital city & other major cities to Northern Kenya. A region that has been so neglected for years that we even didn’t know if it existed. It’s a region with marginalized communities who even don’t have the most basic of commodities like water, clothing or food. They languish in abject poverty as they move around with their malnourished cattle around in search of water & pasture. As if that’s not enough, they get attacked so often by neighboring communities & their cattle stolen by other communities & even people from neighboring countries like South Sudan & Ethiopia. If you made a trip to Northern Kenya, at a certain point you will need to have military escort because anything can happen. Driving on that route has no driving laws. Either you drive at 160kmph with a flat tire to the next town or stop to repair & that’s the end of you. It’s that bad. It’s like a completely different country with no rules within a country with smart laws. The people are primitive & don’t have the simplest of thing like a phone. That which you are using to read this. If you took one out in those areas, people would flood around you interested just to look at it. As for reception…. If you don’t know how to climb a tree or a hill, you are in for a long trip my friend. A friends mom who is a missionary once made a trip their as a group & while they asked people if they knew Jesus, they got the most humble of replies. “Aaaiii. Huyo simjui. Ebu ulizeni huko mbele (Who? Sorry I don’t know him. Try asking the next door.)” It’s a completely different world out there.
But now there is hope. Last year some multinational companies were able to find oil deposits on that area which means we might just start having our own oil. Very positive news there. The news was greeted with everyone in the country. Yes, us the pretenders. Now with this latest news about the aquifer, we know almost want to start parking our bags and move to Northern Kenya & don’t care about the harsh desert conditions there. We finally have a reason to like that place. But what about the people there? Hopefully they will be able to settle down & dump the nomadism & also get jobs in the companies that will be set up. Personally, if I had the funds, Id run to Northern Kenya & buy large trucks of land. Just a future investment. Government is considering setting up a nuclear power plant in the region (which we don’t totally don’t need). Solar power can be a safer & best option. The place is a desert. All that solar energy going to waste. I just can’t stress enough how we all know want a piece of that dry place cake.
We can’t stop but also wonder what action South Sudan is planning. From the map, the aquifer moves across the border. Will we see the rise of Water wars & Oil wars within the region? No, we can’t assume that. People already fight over cows, what makes you think Oil or water isn’t that appealing to them considering their value? That is political & I’ll leave it to the politicians to politic about it & by the time they finish, 70 years is up & the aquifer is depleted.
Am hopeful though. Very much. Just like a normal citizen who regularly faces water shortage, nothing will make me happier than knowing I can shower everyday & dump using a basin. The right infrastructure needs to be there & proper planning which unless we do, just like all other projects, it will be a story of we saw but talked too much to conquer.
- Kenya strikes massive water reserve in Turkana (capitalfm.co.ke)
- “Water Wars” Look Like Distant Fantasy as Kenya Finds Huge Underground Aquifer (blogs.the-american-interest.com)
- Kenya discovers huge water source (bbc.co.uk)