Quaker Network for the Prevention of Violent Conflict
Le Réseau de quaker pour l'Empêchment de Conflit Violent
<>QPN REPORT ON
NOTES FROM REPORTS SUBMITTED BY QPN OBSERVERS
One of the cornerstones of the peace agreement between government of
Sudanand the ’s people liberation Movement was the right of Southern Sudanese to hold a vote for self determination. The final results of the referendum would determine whether Sudan remained unified or separated into two independent countries. Sudan
QPN operating under the auspices of Change Agent Peace International (CAPI) organized teams to observe the conduct of the referendum. The referendum lasted for one week (January 9 – 15, 2011). The team comprised of two observers from
Kenya, 1 from Burundiand another one from . These international observers worked jointly with 45 other local observers operating under Yar Arrol Foundation (YAF) a local organization based in Rwanda . YAF partners with CAPI in women empowerment initiatives. Warrap State
of referendum commission (SSRC) is the body that was charged with the management and coordination of the referendum and was established to formulate necessary rules, regulations and policies that would provide for a free and fair referendum. Sudan
Regarding the polling, SSRC provided for a period of one week for the voting to take place. This began on 9th to 15th January 2011 in the whole of Northern Sudan and
Southern Sudan. Provisions were also made for Sudanese in Diaspora to participate in the referendum. To this end, eight (8) out-of country voting locations were identified, which included Kenya, Uganda, UK, Australia, USA, Egypt, Ethiopiaand . Netherlands
Quaker Peace Network (QPN) was invited by YAF to observe the referendum. This followed a successful training conducted YAF members on the principles of election observation and the code of conduct for observers. This training was held in December 2010.
The four QPN observers were able to visit 20 polling centers located in Gogrial East and Twic for four days. The team delayed to be in Kwa Jok on the first day of the voting (9th) due to logistical challenges. However, they had an opportunity to see the people vote as they traveled by road from
Jubato Kwa Jok. They met with some leaders from YAF and local observers to compare notes before compiling the final report.
The team agreed on the following observations:
- The legal and administrative framework for the referendum was remarkable including the provision that all voters vote at the place they registered.
- All the polling centers began on January 9th and finished January 15th. In addition, the opening and closing hour of the polling centers were fully respected. The SSRC extended the closing of polling times after the first day from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm because of the many voters who turned up on January 9, 2011.
- The SSRC provided accreditation badges to the observers though these badges were the same for domestic, international and political parties.
- Every where, we saw posters for secession on buildings, cars even on state sites
- Polling materials were delivered on time and in sufficient quantities.
- In general, polling staff roles were clear
- QPN did not notice any troubles during the observation of the referendum
- In some places, the polling staff did not mark the register to indicate that that someone had voted
- Polling officials and authorized security personnel wore identification uniforms.
- The polling centre were well organized the staff acted responsibly and well designated places provided for observers and security personnel. The local observers were respected and assisted where necessary for ample recording of observations of the polling process.
- The names’ verification was well organized and easy except for the first day when the crowds were too many.
- There a remarkable utilization of the ballot papers with very few spoiled ones.
- There was huge voter turner out experienced in nearly all centers that included old people and even the disabled. The disabled were given a priority and the necessary assistance they needed. Some people had to travel long distances to their nearest voting centers but this did not discourage from participating.
Areas needing improvement:
- There is need to enforce secrete voting. People were noticed standing very close to polling booth where they could easily see a person voting.
- Consistency in recording in journal by carrying forward the remaining ballots. Some polling officials failed to indicate this at the start of a new day.
- To increase the supervision from the SSRC. Most of the centres had not been visited by any official from the commission. If there are any errors committed on the first day, they remained uncorrected throughout the voting period.
- In general, more civic education is needed for the population not only to vote en mass but also to vote rightfully.
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