, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 17 – Southern Sudan residents in Kenya have overwhelmingly voted in favour of secession from the north with more than 98.5 percent choosing independence.
Referendum Commission Representative for Kenya, Achuoth Philip Deng, said 14,712 registered voters cast their ballot in favour of secession while only 42 opted for unity in the eight polling stations countrywide.
According to the preliminary results released on Monday, some 23 votes were invalid and 59 unmarked.
“The total that voted in the referendum in Kenya was 14,836 out of the 15,057 who were registered as voters. But these results apply only to Kenya and so they are not the results for the entire Southern Sudan referendum,” he said.
“We had a total of 17 polling stations with some referendum centers having three or two. Others like Dadaab had one in addition to that we did not have too many spoilt votes in the stations but the highest number was in Kakuma,” he noted.
Once all the preliminary results are consolidated, they will be announced in the northern capital, Khartoum, before the final count is declared on March 6.
Results from the Diaspora including Kenya, Uganda, Egypt, Ethiopia, the United Kingdom, the US, Canada and Australia were sent directly to the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) in Khartoum while those from the 10 southern states will first be sent to the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau (SSRB) in Juba before being reported to Khartoum.
Of the 3.9 million registered voters, 60,241 Sudanese were registered in the Diaspora, 15,057 of those were in Kenya.
“The results will be announced as they stream in,” explained Mr Deng. The chairman of the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau who is also the deputy of the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission 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.
He further explained that any person who disputes the preliminary results of the polling center where they were registered would be allowed to raise the objection in Khartoum.
“All the results from the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission will be declared by the commission. Anyone who wishes to appeal the results of the polling center from which they voted must wait until the overall preliminary results is declared,” he said.
Mr Deng added that the first referendum results would also not have a significant difference from the final result count.
“The referendum had a lot of procedures and we had to announce the results as preliminary because they are not yet comprehensive and because we wanted to make them known to the public so as to also get their response,” he explained.
Voting in south Sudan referendum, which is a key plank of the 2005’s peace deal that ended nearly two decades of north-south civil war, began on 9 January and closed on 15 January at 3,000 polling stations inside Sudan and in eight out of country voting stations including Kenya.
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