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Sudan Tribune

Plural news and views on Sudan

Fourth day of polls register low turnout in Jonglei capital

April 14, 2010 (BOR) – Polling staffs spend Wednesday April 14 at stations without voters. However, more than 50% of registered electorates in Bor Town have participated in these elections, a Sudan Tribune data reveals.

A south Sudanese woman is directed by a police officer to enter the polling room at a polling station in Lologo, Southern Sudan, Sunday April 11, 2010 (AP)
A south Sudanese woman is directed by a police officer to enter the polling room at a polling station in Lologo, Southern Sudan, Sunday April 11, 2010 (AP)
The highest turnout is registered in Bor Public Primary School at 79% and the lowest, 55%, in Malek Secondary School center where 7913 voters are expected.

The information obtained by the Sudan Tribune, in Malek Secondary School Center, where there nine polling stations, indicates that voter turnout varies from stations. 72% turnout is recorded in SSRCC polling station. Across the town to Dhiam-Dhiam polling center, an average of 56% of expected electorates voted according to polling staffs.

Many people voted on Sunday and Monday. Turnout dropped significantly on Tuesday and decreases through Wednesday. For instance, only 11 people voted in Bor Public Primary school by 03:00 pm local time. Lack of awareness about extension of voting days and desire by many town residents to vote in their respective Constituencies outside the State Capital attributed to low turnout on Tuesday.

The polling officials and party agents at voting centers say the National Election Commission should step in and make local mobilization through loudspeakers announcement which are locally the only source of passing information since the newly opened Radio Jonglei is not yet popular. But Ambassador Isaiah Chinkok, the spokesman for the State High Election Committee, told the Sudan Tribune that there is no extra budget for extra publication since the increment of voting days has been published in all media houses.

The extension of polling days has revealed how tight security at polling stations may jeopardize supervision of election exercise in Jonglei. At SSRRCC polling station in Bor town, security officers detained the ST reporter for 10 minutes for allegedly carrying a bag of recorders and camera.

Fortunately, a senior police officer, who comprehensively spotted a NEC provided media identification card hanging at the chest warn his junior officers of harassment. Nevertheless, the head of SSRRCC polling station, Thon Makuei, complained to visiting SPLM official monitors later Wednesday that security officers are rude. Mr. Makuei charged the policemen of exceeding their mandate saying “they should intervene on polling staffs invitation. But they sit near secret voting corners and wanted to see how voters are choosing.”

There are mixed reactions over the extension of voting days here. For those who failed to locate their polling stations, it is an opportunity. To others, it increases stress ahead of results and may tempt ambitious supporters of politicians to ignite chaos.