The deputy speaker for the Transitional National Legislative Assembly Nathaniel Oyet Pierino has moved to calm fears amid the ongoing public debate on dredging activities around the Naam and Bahr El Ghazal rivers.
“Anybody whether in the house or in the public trying to politicize this matter or even tribalize it will not be tolerated,” Oyet said during public consultation on water management in Juba on Wednesday.
Oyet cautioned that politicizing cabinet-led projects will lead to disastrous outcome.
“We have people who are drowning and others have also drowned,” he said.
The United Nations estimates more than 900,000 people to have been affected by heavy flooding since last year. The worst hit-areas by floods included Jonglei, Unity and Pibor Administrative Area.
“We as parliament will maintain our roles representing the interest of our people and will always do the best for their benefit,” he disclosed.
Oyet demanded cabinet to table the dredging report after conclusion of feasibility studies.
“After commencing environmental impact assessment, we expect the report to be also tabled in the parliament,” he said.
“It is the parliament who will have the final say on this matter and we shall also still on our own account commence public consultations,” Oyet added.
In June, the government of Unity State received machinery from Egypt for clearing the Naam River and Bahr El-Ghazal basin.
The decision sparked mixed reactions from the public, with some raising concerns the move could inflict irreversible damage on the sudd wetlands.
Following the events, different government institutions contradicted themselves over the dredging plan aimed to mitigate flooding in the low-lying areas of the country.
The government signed a memorandum of understanding on dredging projects with Egypt in Cairo, in July 2021.
The high-level delegation to Egypt was headed by Vice President for Economic Cluster Dr. James Wani Igga.