, NAIROBI, Kenya Jan 9 – The international community has lauded the manner in which the referendum in the South Sudan is being conducted.
In a statement, the Independent International Referendum Observation Missions of the African Union, The Carter Center, the European Union, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development and the League of Arab States called on the South Sudan Referendum Commission and South Sudan Referendum Bureau to ensure transparently during and post-polling and allow for an accurate compilation and tabulation of votes.
The groups said this would avoid the flaring of tension as a result of uncertainty over the vote tallying of the process whose result is expected to be released in mid-February.
"We will be following the completion of polling, and in accordance with the Declaration of Principles for International Election Observation, independently issue their preliminary findings on the referendum process," read the statement.
The referendum was promised in a 2005 peace deal that ended Africa\’s longest civil war, fuelled by oil and ethnicity between the mostly Muslim north and the south, where most people follow Christianity and traditional beliefs.
At the same time, a panel of prominent foreign poll observers led by Former US president Jimmy Carter and Former UN Secretary General Kofi Annan said that they were happy with the conduct of the poll so far and the enthusiasm shown by the people.
Dr Annan said that the Sudan People\’s Liberation Movement, the ruling party in southern Sudan, had lots of experience, unlike other armed groups that transform into governing parties.
"This is democracy at its most basic, where people are choosing the future of their nation," said Dr Annan.
"We hope this process will help the people of Sudan work for a peaceful future, regardless of the outcome," said President Carter.
At the same time, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka and Prime Minister Raila Odinga joined the world in lauding the conduct of the south Sudanese people.
Speaking after visiting the Nairobi Railways Club, Vice President Kalonzo Musyoka described Sunday\’s referendum by the South Sudan nationals as a step towards lasting peace in Africa\’s largest state.
Mr Musyoka who spearhead the signing of a Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2005 when he was the Foreign Affairs Minister, called on both parties in the Sudan process to keep peace and respect the outcome of the exercise.
"It took leadership and also sacrifice on the part of El-Bashir and the late Dr Garang. Although we lost John (Garang) after the signing of the CPA am sure he is resting peace knowing that what he fought for is really coming to fruition," he said.
The Vice President said he was certain that the President Omar El-Bashir and Vice President Salva Kiir a bid the principles of the 2005 CPA agreement which was signed in Nairobi.
"What is happening today is irreversible, and I know that President El Bashir himself is mentally prepared to accept the outcome," said Mr Musyoka.
Lands Minister James Orengo, who visited the Nairobi Railways Club referendum centre said the day marked a major milestone in the history of Africa.
He urged the international community to join Kenya in recognizing the birth of the new state on the continent.
"South Sudan is not just writing a foot note, they are writing a whole book about the struggle in Africa. They have shown that a people united can never be divided, once a people have elected to live together as a nation no force on earth can stop them from doing want they want," said the Lands Minister.
Mr Orengo represented Prime Minister Raila Odinga in the Sudan process, who has taken time to focus on the Ivory Coast crisis where he has been appointed by the AU to mediate a solution.