The mythical giant half snake/half fish...Nyaminyami...is what the Tongan people believe is the god and protecter of the Zambezi River basin. The building of the Kariba Dam in the 60s angered the Nyaminyami who retreated to the dam gorge from where he unleashed his wrath. The Tonga people have lost their power and identity, many people have died in the building and subsequent floods, to this day the dam's infrastructure is in danger of failing and the economic backlash arguably contributed to crippling the entire "bread basket of Africa"(the country of Zimabawe).
Or...building dams is just bad business. As a youngster living in war torn Zimbabwe, I was always intrigued by Kariba and since then I've always been intrigued by dams, wondering if they are indeed good or bad. As this article suggests, they are bad. They are industrial ventures that are on the other end of the SEA spectrum. Communities are destroyed, as is the environment and when its all said and done, their financial strength is model for what not to do in an economics 101 class. The heavy loans, social and environmental loss are covered in a shroud of corruption, and "energy for the people" marketing.
Big dams is not SEA business and big dam boardrooms should turn their attention to alternatives for the sake of their own sustainability.