Accessibility links

Sudan Referendum Commission Denies Referendum Act Violations

  • Peter Clottey

Residents of the remote south central Southern Sudan village of Nyal line up to register their names at a local school being used as a voter registration office, 15 Nov 2010.

An official of Sudan’s referendum commission has expressed concern that a Constitutional Court ruling that seeks to dissolve his organization could jeopardize the organization of the scheduled 9th January referendum.

George Benjamin, spokesman for the referendum commission, told VOA his group has yet to officially receive notice from the court about allegations that there were violations of Sudan’s Referendum Act during the recent voter registration process.

“Of course, the referendum commission did not violate the Referendum Act,” said Benjamin.

“After registration, it is normal that there could be complaints and there are consultation committees, which have been formed, and they are all over the place to look into those complaints. In case somebody did not feel (satisfied) with the decision of the committees, then he can proceed to a special court, which has been established.”

Concerned groups from southern Sudan have petitioned the Constitutional Court to dissolve the commission after claiming they possess documented evidence showing violations during the voter registration.

The groups also claim the violations will undermine the credibility of both the voters list, as well as the January referendum. The court has yet to officially begin investigations into the allegations after accepting the petitions.

But, Benjamin said the referendum commission has been transparent in its activities ahead of next month’s vote.

Observers have expressed concern over the potential for violence if the Constitutional Court dissolves the referendum commission.

“That is our fear. However, we will have to wait and see what the court will do first. And when we are notified, then we will know and we will respond accordingly,” said Benjamin.

He said over three-million prospective southern Sudanese have registered to vote in the upcoming referendum. Southern Sudanese are expected to decide if the semi-autonomous south secedes and becomes an independent nation or is joined with the north.