||Last Updated: Feb 13, 2011 - 7:24:29 AM
8 polling centres in Kenya for Sudan vote
BY SARAH WAMBUI
Update 6 hours and 47 minutes ago
NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 6 - There will be eight polling stations for Sudan's southerners residing in Kenya who intend to participate in Sunday's historic referendum, the Head of Mission at the region's embassy Michael Majok announced on Wednesday.
Mr Majok explained that Nairobi would have two polling stations at the Railways Sports Club and at the Blue Springs Hotel on Thika Road while the remaining centres would be spread out across the country.
He noted that out of the 60,241 Sudanese who were registered as voters in the Diaspora, 15,057 were in Kenya.
"We have a polling centre in Dadaab with 171 registered voters, another in Eldoret Center with 1,359 voters, one in Kitale with 502 voters, Nakuru with 2,446 voters and two centres in Kakuma. Kakuma I has 2,149 voters and Kakuma II has 3,375," he explained.
In Nairobi, 3,029 Sudanese voters have registered at the Railways Sports Club while 2,026 have been registered at the Blue Springs Hotel.
Mr Majok further explained that all the results from the polling stations would be sent to both Juba and Khartoum once the voting process was concluded.
"The total number of votes cast will be counted in each centre in Kenya in the presence of election observers and monitors."
"The Southern Sudan Referendum Commissioners together with the Committee of the International Organization for Migration (IOM) will sign the document with the final vote count confirming its authenticity before the results are sent to Sudan," he said.
He added that Southern Sudanese, who were in the northern region of the country, would have to vote from the north.
Close to four million Southern Sudanese have so far registered for the referendum; out of these 116, 860 people were registered in the North's 16 states.
"Shifting and moving from one place to the next would bring confusion so people will vote from where they initially registered," he explained adding that there would be adequate security in place to ensure a peaceful process.
After the January 9 referendum and in the event that the south votes in favour of independence, both regions would have to decide on the fate of the Abyei state among other things.
"Part of the Abyei state was annexed to the north in 1905 because the distance from Juba in terms of administration was very far. But the fate of the bit that remained will be decided by a commission that will be formed by President Omar Al Bashir and Southern Sudan President Salva Kiir," said Mr Majok.
He also disputed concerns surrounding the issue of oil and the country's national debt saying they would be sorted out before the expiry of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) on July 9.
He said that both the northern and southern regions of Sudan would have to negotiate how to distribute the country's wealth together with demarcation of the boundaries.
Reports indicate that 80 percent of the country's oil reserves are located in the southern part of Sudan and some observers fear that the north might resist the split because of losing out on the revenue brought in by oil. Some reports claim that if the south secedes, the north might lose billions of oil dollars yearly.
The country's external debt stands at Sh2.9 trillion.
"So it is good for the north to bargain now using the terms of the CPA before it expires because it might be difficult to do so afterwards," said Mr Majok.
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