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Sudan Referendum Commission Assures Smooth Vote

Eamon Omordha, right, Deputy Director of United Nations Integrated Referendum and Electoral Division, hands over a referendum ballot to Justice Chan Reec Madut, left, Chairman of the Southern Sudan Referendum Bureau, during a material handover ceremony in

An official of Sudan’s referendum commission has reassured southern Sudanese that the 9th January referendum will proceed as originally scheduled despite attempts by opponents seeking dissolution of his organization ahead of the self determination vote.

George Benjamin, spokesman for the referendum commission, told VOA the program of preparations to organize a credible vote is in on course.

“As things stand now, we believe that the basis and the grounds were so flimsy for the claims made by those individuals and, therefore, it represents a weak case,” said Benjamin.

This comes as Sudan’s Constitutional Court decides next week whether to dissolve the referendum commission.

Several southern Sudanese groups recently petitioned the court seeking the dissolution of the commission after citing fraud and intimidation during the voter registration process.

But, Benjamin said the petition against the referendum commission is, in his view, ridiculous.

He also expressed confidence in the ability of the referendum commission to organize a credible vote next month.

“The commission is more than confident that it is proceeding with the process that is credible and that would be accepted to all parties. After all the registration process has recorded very high success. We had few complaints, and we also had few appeals before the court,” said Benjamin.

“The (voter) registry is being prepared and the ballot papers are on the way to all the stations and to all centers in all the states of the country and also abroad. And the stage is completely and confidently set for the polling to start on the 9th of January,” said Benjamin.

“I just would want to assure everybody that the process will continue and will proceed uninterrupted. So far, we have very few days to hit the 9th of January and almost all the critical stages have been covered; the registration has been covered and the appeals and courts have been covered,” said Benjamin.

“The ballot boxes have arrived on time and the final registry is being compiled, the polling officers are already under training and therefore. I think there is no need for southern Sudanese to feel worried that the process may feel interrupted. It won’t be interrupted.”