EAC observer mission praises conduct of Southern Sudan referendum

Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (PANA) - The East African Community (EAC) Referendum Observer Mission in southern Sudan said Thursday that so far, no ugly incidences capable of undermining the credibility of the referendum process and the legitimacy of its outcome had been noticed.
In a brief progress report on the exercise that kicked off 9 January, 2011, the EAC mission noted "the referendum process is being conducted in an environment of calmness, peace and tranquility."

The observer mission arrived in Juba, south Sudan capital, on 7 January and it comprises 15 members of the East African Legislative Assembly (EALA), drawn from all the five partner states of Burundi, Kenya, Rwanda, Tanzania and Uganda.

Its report, signed by the head of the mission, Abdul Karim Harelimana, covered the first four days of voting, up to 12 January, 2011.

It says the observers have witnessed large number of voters, ranging from 67 per cent to 88 per cent of registered voters in the polling centres/stations visited.

The figures were based on reports from EAC teams deployed in four states of Central Equatorial (which includes the capital – Juba), Western Equatorial, Eastern Equatorial and Jonglei.

"Members of the EAC Observer Mission have observed the emotions expressed by the people of Southern Sudan as they cast their votes.
These emotions range from tearful outbursts, ululations, kissing of the ballot papers and the ground, as well as chants of joy. People have been standing patiently in the hot glaring sun for long hours to cast their votes," the report said.

At the polling centres/stations visited, the EAC observers noted that there were adequate voting materials and electoral staff; efforts were made to extend assistance to special groups, including mothers with children, pregnant mothers, the disabled, the elderly and the illiterate.

Referendum observers received cooperation from all the stakeholders that included the staff of Referendum Commission, security, political parties and the voters, the observers noted.

In addition, the report said referendum officials exhibited knowledge regarding rules of procedures on opening, closing and counting; and opening and closing procedures were conducted in an open and transparent manner and were witnessed by all stakeholders.

The mission is still on the ground in various states and will keep making regular updates on further progress, said Harelimana.
-0- PANA AR/BOS 13Jan2011

13 Janeiro 2011 15:47:06

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