January 30, 2011 (JUBA) – The people of Southern Sudan, at home and abroad, have voted in favor of secession with a 99% margin after counting 100% of the ballots, Sudan Tribune have learned.
Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC) chairperson Mohamed Ibrahim Khalil (Reuters)
The preliminary results can be challenged during the appeal period which expires in early February.
This announcement to be made public later today, has hardly come as a surprise to anyone in the local or international arena who have prepared themselves for that outcome and have focused their efforts on making a peaceful divorce between the North and South.
The option of unity was deemed all but impossible by most observers due to deep seated mistrust between the Arab-Muslim dominated North and the mostly Christian and animist south Sudan.
Furthermore, the South has insisted on abrogating the application of Islamic Sharia’a law in the country but has faced stiff resistance by the ruling National Congress Party in the North.
Both sides are faced with the daunting task of agreeing on post-secession items such as borders, Abyei, citizenship, oil, water, national debt and international agreements.
Article source: http://www.sudantribune.com/Southern-Sudanese-vote,37811
January 20, 2011 (KHARTOUM) – Sudanese authorities are in the process of making a list of Southern children staying in homeless shelters in the North so that they are sent to the South in the event the referendum vote comes in favor of secession, an official said today.
Southern children (SMC)
The director of care management at the Ministry of Development in Khartoum State Mona Mustafa Khogali told the government sponsored Sudanese Media Center (SMC) website that authorities along with NGO’s will count the population of impacted children in coordination with the Government of Southern Sudan.
Khogali said that around 30 social workers are undergoing training to handle these cases emphasizing that the deportation of children will take place only if South opts for independence.
She added that this move is in line with the ministry’s strategy crafted in preparation for the country’s breakup.
The ruling National Congress Party (NCP) party in the North has stressed that Southerners living in the North will be treated as foreigners once the separation materializes and ruled out any prospects for dual citizenship.
Critics say that Sudanese constitution allows for dual citizenship and it bestows birthright citizenship on those born on its soil.
But Sudanese president Omer Hassan Al-Bashir said in an interview with Al-Jazeera TV recently that Southerners exclusively got the self-determination right and as such they cannot retain citizenship rights in the North unless they pick unity.
Preliminary results show a landslide vote in favor of separation by Southern Sudanese inside the country and abroad.
An estimated two million people died in the 22-year civil war, the latest round in five decades of conflict between the south and the mainly Arab north that has blighted Africa’s largest nation.
The week-long independence vote was the centerpiece of the 2005 peace agreement that ended the war.
Jackson Joshua Jada walked up to a polling centre in the Kator district of Juba at 1 a.m. on 9 January to ensure he would be its first voter in Southern Sudan’s long-awaited referendum on self-determination.
The moment was a long time coming for Mr. Jada, who lost his father, brothers and other close relatives in the carnage of Sudan’s second civil war. The prospect of a seven-hour-long wait before the start of polling failed to faze him.
“I lost my family, and now I do not want to lose Southern Sudan,” said Mr. Jada, who left his wife and seven children behind in Khartoum to vote in the regional capital. “I will vote for freedom to fulfill my dream and the dream of my people.”
Amid joyous ululating and long queues, hundreds of thousands of registered voters descended on polling centres across Southern Sudan on the first day of balloting to have their say in the future of the impoverished region.
Only three of the 2,638 polling centres set up across Southern Sudan failed to open as scheduled on 9 January, which also marked the sixth anniversary of the signing of the 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement. By the end of the day, an estimated 20 per cent of the 3.7 million registered voters in the country’s 10 southern states had trooped to the polls, according to the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission (SSRC).
With six days of voting still remaining, there seemed little doubt that voter turnout would surpass the 60 per cent threshold established by the 2009 Southern Sudan Referendum Act to make the outcome legally binding. That translates to 2,359,533 votes.
“It is proceeding very, very smoothly,” said SSRC chairperson Mohammed Ibrahim Khalil on the third day of voting. “There doesn’t seem to be any fear of not reaching the 60 percent limit.”
The mood and levels of participation were quite different in the country’s 15 northern states, where over 116,000 southern residents had registered to vote.
Only one man stood outside a polling centre in the Morda district of Omdurman when it opened its doors at 8:15 a.m. on the first day of voting.
Sadiq Ibrahim was born in Khartoum and has never visited his family’s ancestral homeland in the Western Bahr El-Ghazal State county of Raga. But he still felt it was his duty to register his support for the continued unity of the country.
“Unity might still happen but with a new set of morals, ideas and opinions,” said 46-year-old Ibrahim. “I am optimistic.”
An estimated 14 per cent of registered voters in North Sudan went to polling centres on the first day of voting, according to SSRC member Paulino Wanawilla Unango.
The SSRC and its Juba-based bureau received high praise at home and abroad for spearheading preparations for the referendum and starting the vote on time.
“The commissioners, bureau members and their staffs have carried out their responsibilities under an extremely tight timetable in a politically sensitive environment,” said UNMIS Regional Coordinator David Gressly at a 6 January press conference. “Thanks to their efforts, the many skeptics who never thought Southern Sudan would be ready to hold its referendum (on schedule) were proven wrong.”
UNMIS and the United Nations Integrated Referendum and Electoral Division (UNIRED) provided vital logistical support and technical advice to the SSRC during the countdown to 9 January.
Nearly 340 UNIRED staff members worked closely with Sudanese referendum officials throughout the country. Domestic flights funded by the UN Development Programme’s Basket Fund delivered over 1.2 million kilograms of referendum materials in the south.
During a six-day period ending on 4 January, UNMIS aircraft transported over 29,000 kilograms of referendum materials to 50 remote drop-off points in the Southern Sudanese hinterland that were inaccessible by road.
UNMIS also opened 19 referenda support bases in nine southern states to facilitate assistance to the referendum process at the county level.
UN Police advisers serving with UNMIS provided referendum security training to approximately 17,600 members of the Southern Sudan Police Service and 4,500 officers with the Sudan Federal Police in the north.
The SSRC is expected to make a preliminary declaration of results on 2 February. If no legal appeals are filed, final official figures could be available as early as 7 February.