View public dialogue on dredging, healthily

By Taban Henry

A civil society activist said the public and citizens’ difference in opinions over the river dredging matters should be viewed as healthy dialogue for better public governance practices.

In a statement extended to No.1 Citizen Daily Newspaper, Mr. Edmund Yakani the Executive Director of Community Empowerment for Progress Organization said the citizens’ divergent views should be looked at, from a healthy point of view for better public governance.

He raised the concern following the difference in opinion on the matters of the river dredging where the public outcry made President Salva Kiir to suspend the river dredging project until scientific environmental assessment is done.

Meanwhile, this week citizens in Unity State, Bentiu, moved to clear weeds in the Naam River using hand tools, taking matters into their own hands following the suspension of the dredging activities.

CEPO argued that the public and the citizens’ difference in opinions should be viewed as healthy dialogue for better public governance.

“River dredging is not politics or open public debate subject, but it is a science. Now on the point of view about science, it is logical that any argument on the river dredging should be done after proper scientific baseline surveys or assessments are carried out for generating scientific facts of the interventions” Yakani said.

“The science around climate change of yesterday or of 50 years ago is totally different from the today and tomorrow science around climate change and this should the scientific point of moving forward,” he added.    

Yakani described river converging for better river transport access or reduction of floods is a good approach but it should be carried out in scientific manner.

The activist stressed that the factors for climate change per the current world environment are real adding it should not be undermined politically, because it has direct negative implications on human and livestock growth and development.

“Our call to our leaders is allow the directive of the President for scientific approach to take place than politically pushing for action without scientific studies. We are fully aware of the floods implications on the lives of our people and we must have scientific approach in mitigating that,” Yakani asserted.    

CEPO’s Executive Director is urging the public and leaders to take the dialogue around the river dredging from professional and unrestrictive manner.

“This dialogue should not be taken emotionally by anyone attempting to raise a concern. It is our national interest as some leaders have said. Consensus building on national interest is always character of matured leadership and public governance” Yakani emphasized.

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