The author of the named article, Carol Ezzell, provides breaking news about the situation in the impacted area. She met the native Himba population, who were surprisingly little informed about the proposed project. This lack of knowledge, she writes, is partly caused by the fact that the Himbas have received written information only in English language. Trond Westeren in Norconsult says to NorWatch that the distribution of information is the full responsibility of the Namibian government, and that his company has no knowledge about how this has been done.
The article also touches upon the alternatives to the proposed exploitation of the Kunene River. The 20 trillion cubic meter natural gas field Kudu will be able to provide Namibia the energy needed for the next 25-30 years. There is also the Ruacana Power plant further up the river, which produces only 20% of its capacity. According to Western in Norconsult, the production at this plant varies from 0% to 100%, according to the season, since this plant has no reservoir.
Chief Jakatunga Tjiuma ends the article by saying that the Himbas have a plan for resistance against the project, if it comes to a start-up. Many of the men in the area have experience from the liberation war in the 80s, and they still have their firearms with them.
To this, Namibian Minster of Mining and Energy, Jesaya Nyamu, replies that if the Himbas oppose the project, they will be neutralised. But he doubts this will happen.
Trond Westeren of Norconsult knows the strong opposition against the proposed project among the Himbas, but he does not know of concrete plans for resistance. He adds that the whole project depends on the bilateral cooperation between Angola and Namibia.
The Scientific American article can be found at the following website: http://www.sciam.com/2001/0601issue/
Norwatch Newsletter 7/01