Posted on July 18, 2022
July 14, 2022 (JUBA) – The Jieng Council of Elders, a group of mostly politicians loyal to President Salva Kiir, said dredging of the Nile tributaries and resumption of the Jongeli Canal is another “regime change” strategy.
The group claims to work for the interest of the Dinka tribe in South Sudan.
“This project is not in the national interest. It is not in the interest of the country. It is a project designed to advance and propagate the regime change strategy by another means”, Joshua Dau, the co-chair of the Jieng Council Elders said in a statement extended to Sudan Tribune on Thursday.
Dau, also a member of South Sudan’s Council of States, claimed those supporting the dredging project are advancing the “Kiir Must Go” slogan.
“If you look closely at the proponents advocating the commissioning of the project, you clearly see the leaders are the same advocates of why Kiir Must Go”, he explained.
The legislator wondered why the protest was only staged in Unity state while most parts of the country, including his own, expressed the same situation.
“If it is a national interest, why only one area, tell me”? wondered Dau.
He added, “Most parts of South Sudan as you know, especially in the Upper Nile, including the home of President Salva Kiir, are get submerge by water and they have not gone to protest. What you are telling me is a politically organized protest by the architects”.
The veteran politician remarks came day after First Vice President Riek Machar descried the dredging of the Nile project as an initiative of the government based on national interests.
“When we make our decisions, it is not on any external factors, not also on any prejudice against any nation, but our national interest. Any project we do is in our national interest. This has to be clear,” Machar stated.
The armed opposition leader said the government must find a solution for the floods that have displaced more than 80 percent of the people in Unity State and most parts of Jonglei and Upper Nile states.
“As we are solving the Nile issue, we must first consider the flood-affected communities,” he stressed.
The split in public opinion, which extended to government officials, prompted Kiir to suspend all dredging activities in the country until evidence-based studies are carried out to assess its impact on communities.
Despite continuing public consultations and debates in Juba, citizens in Unity state took to the banks of the Naam River with hand tools on Thursday to clear waterweeds in protest against the suspension of dredging activities.