Massive turnout at Sudan poll centre in Nairobi

January 13, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 13 – One of the polling centres for the Sudan referendum has posted massive turnout with only 317 of the 2,712 registered voters at the Railways Sports Club Referendum Centre waiting to cast their ballots.

The head of the centre Deng-Deng Jor said he expected a majority of those who had not yet voted to do so by Saturday, when the exercise comes to a close. 

"Sunday was the first day and we had a lot of rush and excitement from the people most of whom were very emotional. Some came in as early as 3am in the morning just to be on the queue but then after that, things slowed down," he said.

Although he said that there had been no instances of names missing from the Final Referendum Register (FRR), Mr Deng noted that some voters had been turned away due to their lack of a voter\’s card.

"The FRR was created by the voters themselves during the registration period. People had checked their names, gender, age and location of residence before the referendum date and so far no one has complained," he said.

When the voting exercise is finally concluded, results from Kenya, Uganda, Egypt, Ethiopia, the United Kingdom, America, Canada and Australia will be sent directly to the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) in Khartoum.

Those from the 10 southern states will first be sent to the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau (SSRB) in Juba before being reported to Khartoum where the total vote outcome would be announced.

"The chairman of the SSRB who is also the deputy of the SSRC Chairman will send the results from all states in southern Sudan to his Chairman in Khartoum. The SSRC Chairman will communicate the results as they come in before finally announcing the total consolidated votes," he explained.

Close to four million Southerners had registered to participate in the historic vote that was created from the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005. The agreement was signed in Naivasha bringing to an end Africa\’s longest civil war in which more than two million people were killed and another four million displaced.

According to the stipulations of the CPA, one of the conditions for the referendum was a census. Its results would establish how wealth would be distributed between the two regions if the vote favoured independence. However, the census was delayed three times when financial constraints and disagreements over the CPA obligations started coming up. 

The issues were resolved and the census was held in 2009 placing the country\’s population at 42 million including 8.5 million southerners.

At the beginning the National Congress Party and the Sudan People\’s Liberation Army/Movement could not agree over the proportion required to validate an independence vote.

Then in October 2009, it was agreed that 60 percent voter turnout of 3.8 million southerners would authenticate the referendum.

Reports from Sudan indicate that more than 60 percent of the registered voters have so far voted.

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