By Nyak Simon, Thor Dak and Sabbath De Yecouba
As the polling dragged this morning, at eight o’clock, amazement overrode southern Sudan refugees to march and run into the polling center, former Rajaf Primary School.
This delight was a reminder of the last civil war which had lost lives of Southerners. Some military drilled with woods or metals and sang military songs. “We don’t need results, we’re independent today,” said Peter in this group of delighted women, disables and young people celebrating referendum day before the results. Peter from Nairobi called on phone saying,”Let them cast votes first and celebrate later.” These two groups carried the flag of Southern Sudan and the cross which they said led them during the civil war.
This made the center unstable and the hands of influencers were felt. These were reported as men and a lady from an anonymous Southern Sudanese community. According to the report from the voters, men were seated in the queue neither moving forward to vote nor leaving. They influenced the people outside to vote for unity using their mother tongue and Arabic not understood by some Sudanese. The lady in the room influenced people from her tribe to cast votes of unity as well. She was said to be in a red T-shirt. Young men began opening windows and one of them said,”My dear friend, we don’t need unity.” Not only him, but others were eager to see and torture her.
Eventually, Mr. Manyok, in-charge of the center, classified this as an allegation yet others were insisting he was depending his staffs. “If it was perfect, I could have reported as a person in-charge,” he said.
This however didn’t affect willingness to vote. Sooner as the second group flagged in, Elizabeth said,”We need to vote for independence. I believe in God to bring peace.” Most of the voters were yearning,”Close that of unity.” This was not to confuse them vote for unity because the box had two different openings; one for unity and the other for separation. Aged, disables and some recognized personnel’s were directly taken into the voting room.
Aged are willing to vote for freedom of their children, grand children and grand-grand children.
Civic educators are restless, encouraging people to vote. Most of the voters put ahead God to decide for what’s good for them casting their votes. “Be calm and vote. A citizen should do the best for their nation,” shouted Victoria, in Clinic-two, the next referendum center.
The center in clinic two is much organized. Augustino Loro, the head of that center assured the RRN Journalists to have collected information if they had permits or Identity cards showing their working with the NGOs. “Go and contact SSRC representatives in Nairobi by mail or the organization you are working with to give you either a permit or an Identity document,” he urged.
There is not much to say about the first day even though challenges emerged. Security is tight. They check people entering into the polling centres. Only those with voting cards are free to move in and out to vote. Different observers were available including various media groups.
The message still goes to the people to vote first and celebrate later.
Overconfidence is another enemy.
Better those who danced and sang after casting their votes successfully.