UN : Registration for January polling begins soon, albeit challenges

By: Ahmed Alhaj (Site Admin)

Khartoum- Southern Sudanese will begin registering their names in and outside the Sudan , in  two weeks in preparation for the coming referendum, the UN said on Monday.

The United Nations Integrated Referendum and Electoral Division (UNIRED) said the process will begin in two weeks time and will take place inside the Sudan as well as outside the country in places including  Australia, Canada, USA, Britain, Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Kenya that would enable them vote in the coming referendum set for January 9th next year. The UN stressed challenges, including poor infrastructures, would not delay the process.

The Untied Nations on Monday complained that poor infrastructure was making its work difficult in forwarding the referendum materials but said it hoped everything would be in place in two week's time for the registration process. "One of the main challenges that we are facing is linked to the infrastructure of the country. As you know, the state of the infrastructure in southern Sudan is such that it would take us a lot of time to distribute the material and to retrieve this material for the voter registration and later on for the polling it would be the same kind of constraints." Mr. Denis Kadima, Director of the United Nations Integrated Referendum and Electoral Division (UNIRED) told a press conference here on Monday.

He said on other parts of the worlds and in such a process, the UN would use land transports however in the case of the Sudan and given the difficult typography, helicopters and aircrafts have to be used  "We are using helicopters; we are using aircrafts. In many in other countries you may just use the road but here we are using helicopters – and many of them." Explain that this makes it "quite challenging but … we in the UN knew the context in which we are working and our plans take that into account."

Kadima stressed that this process conducted by the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission would be "one of the most important steps in the lead up to polling, scheduled for 9 January." He explained that UNIRED’s technical assistance includes designing  voter registration forms, preparing staff training, developing  complaint regulations, designing voter education materials and procuring materials and equipment.

He said the UN provides logistical support to deliver those items to locations throughout Sudan and in the eight countries where Southerners will exercise their right to vote—namely, Australia, Canada, USA, Britain, Egypt, Ethiopia, Uganda, and Kenya.

"Donors have committed more than $63 million through the UNDP Basket Fund to support the  referenda. At the request of the CPA parties and  the SSRC, materials for the referendum process were internationally printed and procured. 3,159 registration kits for distribution in Southern Sudan and 840 kits for distribution in the North as well as registration books and cards were handed over to the Southern Sudan Referendum Commission and its Bureau in Juba over the weekend." The UN official stressed.

He explained that kits and books to be used in the training of nearly 11,000 referendum center staff are now being distributed to the states. The UN, through the donor-supported Basket Fund, is transporting these materials from Juba to the state capitals, where the SSRC and the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau will facilitate further distribution to the counties. UNMIS will provide air support to deliver and retrieve materials in remote and isolated locations. The United Nations/African-Union Hybrid Mission in Darfur (UNAMID) will transport registration materials from Khartoum to Darfur’s state capitals. He underlined that Security for the delivery of referendum materials will be ensured by the Southern Sudan Police Service in the South and the Sudan Police in the North.

The official said nearly 11,000 referendum center staff will work in over 3,600 referendum centers in and outside Sudan. "Training the staff within a period of two weeks is a monumental task. UNIRED and IFES have supported the SSRC in the development and production of a procedures manual and other training materials. "

Kadima said, adding that "the upcoming voter registration is one of  the most important milestones in the referendum process."

Sudanow is the longest serving English speaking magazine in the Sudan. It is chartarized by its high quality professional journalism, focusing on political, social, economic, cultural and sport developments in the Sudan. Sudanow provides in depth analysis of these developments by academia, highly ...


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