South Sudan’s vice-president for economic cluster James Wani Igga has dismissed speculations among the public that late minister of water resources and irrigation Manawa Peter Gatkuoth Gual was poisoned, saying the highly respected late minister died of heart attack.
Speaking during the last funeral rite of the late minister Gatkuoth, VP Igga said no body in South Sudan or in Egypt poisoned the late minister, but blamed citizens for uttering words against the minister for the government plan to dredge rivers.
“Majority of the people over the dredging project have reached into conclusion without obtaining scientific information and knowledge about the plans and its implementation. I want to correct it today because those were blames that people raised against Late Manawa,” VP Igga told mourners at Medan Simba on Thursday.
“The young man died of heart attack and no body poisoned him neither here nor in Cairo, the truth has to be said. He sacrificed his time and efforts to ensure the execution and the completion of the dredging project but now he has gone. It has been through the pressure and criticisms that people have been imposing on him which made him die,” he added.
He blamed citizens for speaking out against the dredging project without having enough information and asserted that water flow, as well as river transport is being affected by the weeds and sand that has covered the Nile.
“We citizens should be people of right decisions not of emotions. Cleaning the Nile after being covered up by soil and rubbish is the responsibility of the government towards safety of citizens from diseases and flooding but some citizens seemed not to understand the explanation,” he said.
“Our rivers are totally blocked up by rubbish and sand. Most ships that transport people and goods from Kosti are now stuck and blocked up in Mangala due to the blockage of the passage with this, it may require real cleaning which we term it as dredging of the Nile,” he added.
Igga said that “It is now very difficult for ships to access water transport after the Nile has been surrounded by germinated trees, weeds and stagnant soil resulting to decline of water transport to improve our economy and all these contributed to the economic turmoil.
“If the blockage of the rivers continue the way it is moving now, time will come when it will exceed up to Renk and Kosti with this, it will expand and upgrade into forest thus the citizens who exaggerate things shall be the ones suffering. Also, blockage of the rivers will cause flooding where most houses will be affected with the water.”