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Articles and Analysies «Š’›Õ… «Šŕ—»Ū… Last Updated: Dec 20, 2009 - 3:34:53 PM

Why voter registration turnout is low in Lakes State? By: Nelson Makoi, JUBA
Sudaneseonline.com

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Why voter registration turnout is low in Lakes State ?

 

By: Nelson Makoi, JUBA

 

The voter registration which was launched on 1st Nov, 2009 by the National Elections Commission (NEC) was reported recently in the media (The Citizen newspaper Saturday Nov, 7 2009 Vol. 4 Issue 296 page 5) that registration turnout was low in Lakes State and this is the big question. Why are the citizens ignoring voter registration whilst both the CPA and the interim constitution confirm the right to vote as a fundamental right of all Sudanese citizens?

 

The Sudanese citizens will have the opportunity and the responsibility to exercise that right when elections are held under the terms of the CPA for executive and legislative offices at the national, South Sudan and the States level.

 

In fact there are main reasons why voter registration turnout is low in Lakes State and one of the issues is due to misinterpretation by the local population. Lack of trust and confidence in the Government of Lakes State is another issue.

 

However, the government of Lakes State led by Lt. Gen Daniel Awet Akot lost popularity among the public simply because of poor service delivery and introduced unlawful taxation on citizen in the State.

 

I personally witnessed in Rumbek one of the unlawful circulars on cut of pay from the civil servants. The circular was signed by the Deputy Governor Mr. David Nok Marial, effective from the last month of October, arguing that the money will be used to issue ID cards for the government employees.

 

Laughingly, where in the world do government employees buy official ID cards in their salaries? The ID card is supposed to be issued by the institutions that recruit you. As per the case of the government of Lakes State , it's the government's obligation to issue the ID card for the reason that the government can properly secure identification of the number of manpower in the State and not by individual salary deduction.

 

High corruption among the State authority is another factor that increases frustration from the citizen and to prove this point, was the issue of down- sizing as part of public service reforms. Well, take a look on how the exercise was implemented in Lakes State .

 

The GOSS initiative was to fight corruption and reduced unclassified staff in the state manpower and in fact GOSS did the job very well and after that GOSS released huge sums of money to pay those who were affected and screened out in the pay sheets. These groups were promised to get paid for three months consolidation and yet none of them received their due up to date as it was intended. The money disappeared among the state's big fish and no questions asked where the money has gone.   

 

Furthermore, the voter registration low turnout is due to the misconception especially rural population who perceived that the voter registration is a way the government can identify potential tax payers. People begun to boycott it for the reason that they are fed up of high taxes they used to contribute and no return or any sign of improvement of services delivery or development since the signing of the CPA in 2005.

 

This perception also affected the census results where a head of a family counted only few children and denied the presence of the rest, thinking that the census counting will result later in taxation. That will cost him lot to pay the government.

 

The people of Lakes State view the government as a failure and show no interest to register to vote for the leaders who are not capable. They complain that all their leaders have no leadership ability to lead and to deliver services to them but instead introducing high taxes. They see these leaders building big houses and owning real estates without clear source of finances.

 

To solve this misconception, the GOSS has to lift the taxation imposed on rural population for a while because there is no effective local government or qualified tax collectors in place as all these taxes paid disappear to nowhere.

 

Despite all this hardship, I urge my fellow citizens in Lakes State as well as the entire South Sudan population: Get out and register to vote to relief yourself from the stress of those who steal public resources and remove them out and replace them with those whom you trust to lead you.

 

Don't let yourselves be ruled again by the fools as your vote can make the difference.


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