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Sudan Referendum Commission Not Yet Ready for Registration

  • Peter Clottey

A southern Sudanese woman chants with pro-independence activists as they march through the southern capital of Juba on 9 Sep 2010. Hundreds of citizens took part in the rally, which aims to bolster support for an independence referendum that will determi

A southern Sudanese woman chants with pro-independence activists as they march through the southern capital of Juba on 9 Sep 2010. Hundreds of citizens took part in the rally, which aims to bolster support for an independence referendum that will determi

The chairman of Sudan’s referendum commission said there is no specific date scheduled for registration to begin ahead of the 9th January referendum after south Sudan residents accused his organization of delays.

Mohammed Ibrahim Khalil told VOA before registration begins there are a number of steps that need to be taken such as appointing a committee that will recruit people to manage the registration, as well as polling centers.

“When you say the registration has been postponed, or delayed, that will imply that a date was fixed and that date was changed. But, no date has ever been fixed. No one has made any decision that registration should begin on such and such a day. Neither the commission nor the government, or any person, has made that decision.”

Khalil said his organization will need about 10,500 field workers to manage 3,600 registration centers across the country.

He also said that the referendum commission, in conjunction with other international organizations including the U.N., will oversee the training of the field workers in order to ensure the credibility of the entire referendum process.

Some civil society groups in the semi-autonomous south have accused the referendum commission of delaying tactics to purposely undermine the referendum.

Khalil said, this week, his organization will begin reconnaissance work in Sudan’s north to determine where the trained commission managers would be most needed ahead of the referendum.

But, he said his organization will do everything in its power to organize the referendum.

“The registration materials were presented to us about 10 days ago. And, as soon as it was presented to us, we in the commission approved it in two days without delay. It has been sent to South Africa for printing. It has been decided, quite some time ago, that it will lead to efficiency and that it will expedite things if it were printed abroad.”

Khalil added that the referendum commission has been assured that the registration materials would be ready by 23rd October. He also said that his organization will need three weeks (15th November) to distribute the printed materials ahead of the vote.

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