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Lack of water at polling centers could threaten referendum turnout in Lakes state


By Manyang Mayom

January 7, 2011 (RUMBEK) - The availability of water at polling centers will be a major problem in Lakes state during southern Sudan’s independence referendum according to local officials.

Speaking to Sudan Tribune, Lakes state minister for Physical Infrastructure Joseph Maker Madit, said that there are not enough water points at voting centers but said that the state government was trying to address this with support from Non-Governmental Organizations to provide extra water points and hand-pumps.

Madit said boreholes at some voting centers are none-functional while other centers do not have any water source.

However, Madit said that “the relevant stakeholders have come together to discuss the matter, among them, government officials representatives from UNMIS (United Nations Mission in Sudan), UNICEF, Oxfam, among others, resolving to immediately repair the none-functional boreholes with parts provided by UNICEF”.

The Minister also said that UNMIS is being approached to provide water using their mobile tankers to polling centers with neither boreholes nor other water sources mainly in Rumbek Central County.

Madit further acknowledged with appreciation the financial assistance from a Canadian NGO, sourced by the UNMIS Coordinator in Lakes state, which has donated $100,000 for parts to repair boreholes and to provide staff to rehabilitate boreholes at polling centers.

He also acknowledged the importance of water at polling centers as a basic need, adding that a lack of drinking water may impact negatively on the turnout at the polling centers.

The Minister called upon the community to take good care of the boreholes so that they can serve them beyond the referendum. He also urged the members of the community to develop a spirit of sacrifice in case they are not provided by facilities like water and food, explaining that the referendum is being done for the young generation and for posterity.

Lakes State has a total of 214 polling centers of which 47 centers are in need of water points.

The Lakes state government has performed a voter education campaign across the state, including remote villages, to inform registered voters on how to vote correctly on January 9.

A quorum of 60% of registered voters, around four million, is needed for the vote to be valid under the referendum passed by Sudan’s parliament.

The South is widely expected to vote to secede from the north in the referendum. Voting begins January 9 and lasts for a week, ending January 15.


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  • 9 January 2011 04:41, by omoni Atari

    Please, Governor,
    Send the water tanks-tractors to fetch the water directly from River nile.
    This is lame excuse, lets get the job done..
    we got no time to waste and compalain with such thing.

  • 9 January 2011 04:52, by Maguangdit

    Dear Lakes State Governor and your Government,
    Don`t be a centre for every problem that occurs in Southern Sudan. These are types of prooblem your government should have already addressed in your planning and preparation for the referendum voting.

    Please, send people to work to bring water to these committed voters who will liberate you and Southern Sudan by their ballots!

    Please, Southern Sudan of today is unlike the SOuthern Sudan of 1970-80s. We have thousands of buses everywhere around Southern Sudan including your State. Therefore, you should rent public buses to transport water to the polling centres and then you should pay the drivers or buses` owners for their pattriotic efforts to serve the voters.

  • 9 January 2011 11:02, by Deng E. Manyuon

    What a pitty ?
    I hope the people of Lakes State will overcome this challenge as they’ve done during the noble struggle.


    • 9 January 2011 16:08, by Victory

      Dear governer do not be distructed by such issue,lets get the job done carfully,provid the waster fast.GBU.

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