Some Sudanese Living Abroad May Vote in Elections
(Nairobi) - Sudanese living in Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Malaysia will now be able to register for the elections scheduled for 2010.- - -
The National Election Commission had earlier exempted some countries from participating in the voter registration exercise which started on November 1.
The Sudanese Ambassador to Kenya, Majok Guandong, told Sudan Radio Service in Nairobi on Thursday that he had received a circular from the NEC instructing him to start the voter registration. exercise in Kenya.
[Majok Guandong]: “Yes it is true, the news came yesterday morning (Wednesday) that the NEC has allowed us to establish voter registration centers in Kenya, Uganda, South Africa and Malaysia. So since yesterday we have been informing the Sudanese who are residing here, starting from tomorrow (Friday). The registration process will start at the Embassy and the GOSS liaison office. This is good news, because it is a constitutional right for the Sudanese to vote in the elections.”
Majok Guandong said that the registration period will be extended to compensate for the late start. He emphasized that the exercise will take 30 days, as required by NEC.
[Guandong]: “If we start tomorrow (Friday), we will be counting the days we have missed since the official start day, because it should be 30 days as scheduled. Secondly, all the documents are available at the Sudanese Embassy, and all Sudanese have the right. Since 1997, more than 5000 Sudanese have managed to get official documents, the passport, identity cards etc. The process is still on. So they have the right, if they need any official documents, there is no problem at all.”
Earlier, the deputy chairman of the NEC, Abdullah Ahmed Abdullah, told Sudan Radio Service that NEC was only concentrating on the countries with large Sudanese populations.
The countrywide voter registration exercise is scheduled to finish at the end of November.
Report by Sudan Radio Service, Thursday, November 12, 2009:
Ten Arrested for Impersonating Registration Officials in Rumbek
(Rumbek) - Ten people posing as registration officers have been arrested in Rumbek, Lakes state.Click on 'Election' label (here below at Sudan Watch) to read news report Nov. 10, 2009, entitled "SSDF to sue NEC for denying Sudanese in Kenya, Uganda and Ethiopia a chance to register as voters in the general elections"
The 10 are under police custody as investigations are going on. They are being held for registering voters, collecting people’s identification and convincing people not to register at the official registration centers set up by the state High Elections Commission.
Our correspondent in Rumbek, Mageng Wade, sent this report.
[Mageng Wade]: “These people said that they were being sent and given money by the NCP to come and register people locally in order to prevent them from registering for the elections next year. So that is the agenda behind the registration of people in their houses.”
Rumbek Central county commissioner Abraham Akol Bol also spoke to Sudan Radio Service.
[Abraham Akol] “They have been arrested by the police and they are now under police investigation and we have not yet received information from the police whether this group belongs to a political party. They were trying to register people and were telling them not to go to the registration centers because they had already been registered. They also took ID cards from the citizens, those who tried to register but the culprits were found by police and they are now under investigation.”
The deputy governor of Lakes state, David Ngok, said that the people are trying to sabotage both the voter registration exercise and the elections.
[David Ngok]: “If there are some people who are trying to sabotage the voter registration process then they are also sabotaging the elections. We will not tolerate this as the government because this is government policy and it’s part of the CPA and the constitution so we will not allow them to do it.”
The deputy governor of Lakes state, David Ngok, spoke to Sudan Radio Service on Thursday
Cross-posted to Sudan Watch and Kenya Watch and Ethiopia Watch and Egypt Watch and Congo Watch.
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UPDATE: From Sudan Tribune by Ngor Arol Garang, Friday, Nov. 13, 2009:
National election board accepts additional countries for Sudanese Diasporas
November 12, 2009 (MALAKAL) — The National Election Commission (NEC) of Sudan today confirmed acceptance of additional countries to the previous list for registration and voting to enable Sudanese abroad to participate in the upcoming elections next year.
Following the publication of a list of countries comprised mostly the Golf countries where the members of the Sudanese Diaspora are from northern Sudan, the SPLM asked to take in consideration African countries where Southerners reside massively.
The initial list includes Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Qatar, Sultanate of Oman, Bahrain, the UK, Belgium (for all Western Europe) and Washington, New York, Los Angles for the USA.
"We have allocated more registration and voting centers in Africa and Asia, said Abel Alier, NEC chairman at Malakal airport as he was en route to Khartoum after inspecting southern states voter registration centers.
Countries newly agreed upon for inclusion by the two parties in Africa includes Uganda, Kenya, and South Africa as well as and Malaysia, he said adding discussions are underway to add other neighboring countries.
Therefore, as commission, "we request Sudanese people residing in those countries to immediately establish contacts with the Sudanese embassies and other designated offices for registration," he emphasized.
Asked why being selective with countries hosting number of Sudanese people abroad to participate in the ongoing voter registration, he said, national election commission gets approval of countries to be included in the registration process from the presidency.
"The Presidency is the highest authority which decides on issues pertaining to country affairs such as voter registration," he commented expressing wishes all Sudanese people abroad open registration centers.
However, he was quick to say the Commission tries its best to ensure inclusion of more centers so that every Sudanese participates in the upcoming elections.
He said constitution allows participation of legally registered citizens to elect their leaders in the upcoming April 2010 elections.
"If you are not registered, it will be hard to vote for the person one sees as leader," he said adding voter registration remains opened to the last day of November 2009.
Alier also requested local authorities to give logistical supports to voter registration teams. He also acknowledged assistance being rendered by United Nation Mission in Sudan in transportation of voter registration materials and teams in where government supports is required.
"UNMIS is greatly supporting registration process in water zones and areas without good roads mostly in the southern part of the country and transitional areas," he stressed.