Southern Sudan Referendum – Day 1 update

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We have a lot to thank God for, the team arrives safely, were able to access the Observer access Cards, secured accommodation at the ACROSS Guest House and meals at the UNHCR Cafeteria, safety and good health!

Reports being received from the  different Voting Centres indicate that there was a very positive voter turnout i.e. in Eldoret (Kenya) by mid-day over 50% of all registered voters had already cast their votes. The excitement and enthusiasm in the South sharply contrasted to the apathy in the North (Khartoum) where by evening the centres there had received less than 50 voters. The Sounterners see the vote for separation as "breaking the yoke of slavery"! The long ques, blazing hot sun and a 13 step voting process did not deter the determined voters eager to see a new dawn for the South. Leaders came alongside the joyous citizens to make their voices heard.

In Nairobi, there was a slight scuffle as citizens grew impatient and attempted to storm the ballot rooms. Additional security forces were called in and the situation was quickly brought under control. The SSRC has been commended for good coordination of the entire process. This was noted in the agents on hand to assist those not able to complete the process unaided, i.e. the elderly as well as offering transport to ferry voters to the polling stations.

As President Salva Kirr Mayardit cast his vote he took the opportunity to call on the security forces to ensure security for all voters and foreigners as well as the Southerners living in the North. He sought to reassure voters that security measures were in place at all times.

In several stations, votes were noted to have gone into celebration mode as the process went on. Conversely in Eldoret, some Christian women took to the street in an orderly march singing peace songs as well as praying out loud for peace and fairness in the entire process.

It worth noting that statistically over 50% of registered voters are youth who when interviewed were quick to say that the process will ensure that they get to live in a free Sudan, and pursue their dreams. 

In contrast to all the joy and celebration, we can not forget to pray that peace will be restored in Abiyei where reports indicate nine (9) people have los their lives in the violence that erupted there.

We pray that the process and outcome will reflect the Southern Sudanese decision.  

At the Secretariat we encourage agencies on the ground to share their experiences with a view to strengthening synergy around the support needed as well as informing the international community with whom we are partnering. We stand with you and commend you to  God Almighty, may He watch over you and cause His angels charge over you.

Sophie Nyokabi
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
[email protected]