Yambio Residents Throng Polling Centres

Thousands of Yambio residents in Western Equatoria swarmed polling centres on the first day of polling in Sudan’s historic polls.

Yambio Residents Throng Polling Centres
GoSS President and SPLM candidate Salva Kiir awaits to vote in Juba yesterday. [© Larco Lomayat]

By Clement Gbatanawo

YAMBIO, 12 April 2010 (Gurtong) - Polling started off smoothly except for an isolated case where two polling officials were harassed over alleged involvement in election fraud.

“The head of the centre was only assisting a disabled person to tick a candidate of his choice but the security officer misunderstood the process. Maybe he did not know the regulations in such incidences”, said an official.

There was a mix-up of ballot papers where ballot papers meant for Tambura County were delivered to Maridi County while the Maridi ones were taken to Tambura.

Overall, the residents came out in their numbers to participate in the lifetime exercise that would shape the future of Sudan and South Sudan in particular.

“I heard on the radio that everyone has a right to vote for their own leaders. That is why I came here for the first time in my life to vote”, a voter at a polling centre in Yambio town told Gurtong.

According to most voters, the stiff competition for the powerful position of state governorship for Western Equatoria State has drawn their interest to vote in the polls.

The curiosity to participate in the complex voting process has also been cited as a contributor to the high voter turnout in most counties in the state.

A ballot paper showing the main contestants for Government of Southern Sudan presidency. [© Larco Lomayat]
A ballot paper showing the main contestants for Government of Southern Sudan presidency. [© Larco Lomayat]

 

In Upper Nile State, the exercise kicked off in all the 536 polling centres after delays in delivery of voting materials to most polling stations.

It took the intervention of the state high election monitoring team to ensure the smooth start of the exercise.

The outgoing State Governor William Othwon, the State Security Advisor Ludia Thomas and the security team visited polling stations to lay ground for the commencement of the exercise.

At some point, there was a standoff between the elections officials and security agents who demanded the opening of the ballot boxes before the party agents and international observers before the commencement of the vote.

The polling clerks also complained of mix-up in ballot boxes and incorrect names of voters in the nominal registers.

A voter, Susana Ayiik lamented over the time wasted, saying that all Sudanese were eagerly waiting to vote in the first multiparty democracy vote in almost a quarter of a century

The Security Advisor, Ludia dispelled any fears of election rigging and said a suitable environment had been created to enable everyone to vote without intimidation.

(Additional Reporting by Daniel Thon Deng).

Posted in: Home, Elections
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