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Wau: Grumble over unfulfilled Kiir promises

Residents in Wau town of Western Bahr el Ghazal State are grumbling about the bad conditions of roads, as promises made by the president to build feeder roads are unfulfilled.

On March 18th, President Salva Kiir, during a stopover rally in Wau town, repeated his commitment to put South Sudan back on the path of development. He directed the National Ministry of Roads to build a 60-kilometre road within Wau town.

He directed the National Minister of Roads and Bridges, Simon Mijok Mijak, to begin building the roads in Wau immediately.

The president also donated two ambulances to Wau Teaching Hospital to boost health service delivery in Wau.

Kiir was travelling to Warrap State by road to celebrate the 100 years of the Catholic Church in Kuajok town when he addressed a crowd of citizens in Wau.

Speaking to Radio Tamazuj on Tuesday, several citizens complained that the condition of feeder roads is very bad and appealed to President Kiir to fulfil his promise to build the 60-kilometre roads.

Anthony Zachariah, a resident of Nazareth neighbourhood, said:” We are urging the President, General Salva Kiir, to fulfil the promise he made when he was addressing the public at Wau Stadium. He pledged to tarmac roads within Wau and we were delighted then.”

“As citizens of this country, we have suffered a lot. The construction of the road from Juba was going on well. We need tarmac roads to help reduce insecurity,” he added.

Asunta Abanya, a local chief, said since the president announced the pledge, people were happy at the time and wondered now why a promise made by the president was not fulfilled immediately.

“When President Salva Kiir Mayardit made his pledge, we became very excited. Now, we don’t know when the construction of the 60-kilometre roads will commence because the rainy season has already started,” she said.

 “Can we just keep hearing the pledges without implementation? As chief of Nazareth, I am asking for implementation so that a smile is put on our faces,” she said.

Anthony Jino, another resident of Wau town, said it is the right of the citizens to ask for services and development projects from the government.

 “Citizens have the right to ask through the media so that whatever they want from their government can be done. I am happy with what the president said, but we have not yet seen anything. So we are still waiting,” Jino said.

When contacted to explain why the construction of the 60-kilometre roads project has not yet commenced, the minister of roads and bridges in Western Bahr el Ghazal State blamed the delays on the National Ministry of Roads and Bridges.

Minister Hassan Ngor Aguer said: “As a follow-up, I wrote an official letter to the Office of the President and my letter was replied after less than three days with a directive to the National Ministry of Roads and Bridges. So this was the first stage.”

“Up to now, the project has not started. When the letter returned from the Office of the President and when I wrote to the Office of the President, it was clearly addressed that we have a Chinese Engineering Company and it is a company which is now working in Wau and we know its work and at the same time, the reply from the Office of the President also contained the name of this company. Although we gave the official letter to the National Ministry of Roads and conducted more than four meetings with them, no outcome so far,” Hassan added.

Aguer pointed out that the state government is unaware of when the road project promised by the president will start. “Up to now, we are not aware when the contract will start. There are suggestions that the contract will be given to ARC Company, and we don’t know more about that,” he said.

The National Minister of Roads and Bridges could not immediately be reached for comment.

Responding to the issue of the two ambulances, the state minister of health, Dr. Vincent Taban, said the state is yet to receive the two ambulances donated by the president to Wau Teaching Hospital.

 “The follow-up of the pledge is being handled by the Office of the Governor. There was a team that went there for a follow-up; it was headed by Deputy Governor Zachariah Joseph Garang during his trip to China,” Taban said.  “Not only for Western Bahr el Ghazal state, the president has also donated two ambulances for Warrap state and all of us are still waiting. They have not yet arrived.”

 The state health minister said the Wau Teaching Hospital desperately needs the ambulances because emergency cases are rising due to the rainy season.