Impasse at the presidency over dredging of rivers’ debate

Impasse at the presidency over dredging of rivers’ debate
Both the President and his First Deputy are reading from different scripts when it comes to the emotive water debate. The other four deputies are also divided right in the middle on this emotive issue.

​The raging debate about dredging of rivers could run into a stalemate with a presidency now split right in the middle over the matter.

This came after Vice President for Service Cluster, Hussein Abdelbagi, finally added his voice to the debate.

The stand taken by Abdelbagi leaves the presidency split in the middle, with two VPs, Abdelbagi and Rebecca Nyadeng supporting President Kiir’s order to stop any dredging initiative until scientific studies have been carried out.

Led by First Vice President Dr Riek Machar, the three VPs have been pushing for the exercise to go on, which is against the stand taken by the head of state.

Also in support of the dredging are Taban Deng Gai, the VP – Infrastructure Cluster and his Economic Cluster counterpart, Dr James Wani Igga.

Abdelbagi opened up the debate afresh by supporting the suspension of dredging of Rivers and Digging of Jonglei Canal.

“In regards to water resources and management, I am reminding the public to step up vigilance about misinformation from unreliable sources and respect the suspension of river dredging related activities regarded to undergo scientific feasibility study for an informed decision,” Abdelbagi, who had out of the country on medical ‘leave’ said on Sunday after he returned home from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

He suggested that the parliament should be tas​​ked with such a discussion to decide whether it would be necessary for the final decision to be made by citizens in a referendum.

“And not only that but I suggest the whole process should involve parliament to examine if citizens should be engaged in a referendum process,” he added.

President Kiir suspended dredging and digging of the Jonglei Canal on the eve of the Independence Day – July 9.

But Machar said that the matter cannot be reversed, adding that the cabinet had already discussed dredging and endorsed it.