January 8, 2011
The WEA/AEA Team arrived safely in Juba yesterday afternoon and are accommodated at the ACROSS Guest House.They arrived amidst a flurry of activity as last minute touches were put in place in the different polling stations spread out in Juba and the surrounding towns. We anticipate that the team will observe the process mainly in Juba and should the need arise to move out that too will be organized on the ground. Owing to the huge numbers of guests in Juba, the team has expressed some concern in regards to access to essentials like food and transport but this is being addressed.
As the voting rolls out this morning preliminary reports indicate great numbers who have been in queue since as early as 5.00am. Not even the blazing sun will deter the people from casting thier ballot in this "no pen" exercise. Citizens casting their votes will use a thumbprint to indicate their choice - unity or separation. Long ques dot the landscape as different stations seek to serve the huge numbers ready to cast their ballot all this in a very peaceful manner. This is in contrast to the skirmishes reported on the eve of the referendum.
In Nairobi, there too the WEA/AEA representative reports a very positive turnout of voters, several long ques as people wait patiently in line to cast their vote. A church leader interviewed on site is very optimistic that "this is the day that the Lord has made and we should be glad in it". He called on all registered voters to ensure that they arrive at the station to cast their vote and help make the voice of the people of South Sudan heard.
Expectations of the people is very high post referendum: access to education has been cited by many a people interviewed as well as access to health care, transport, and a better quality of life. We can only pray with the Southern Sudanese that the process will be free and fair to ensure their voice is heard.
In contrast to the excitement in the South where people are exited an see this day as the day they have waited for well over six years, they have turned out dressed in their suits and women all decked out in their finery, the North has an air of apathy, and reported lower voter turnout.The ques are notably shorter but this too is projected to possibly change in the course of the day.
The Secretariat in Nairobi, Kenya invites additional information from the Partners on the ground. Please use this Forum to share what you see on the ground.
From the Secretariat we wish the Sudanese a peaceful, free and fair exercise that will reflect the voice of the people.
National Coordinator - Micah Challenge Kenya
E.A.K. - A.E.A. Complex No 5 Valley Road,
P.O. Box 26513 - 00100
Tel: 254 20 2062902
Mob: 254 725 802237
Fax: 254 20 2721269