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Sudanese in Kenya register for vote

BUSINESS
By | Nov 16th 2010 | 2 min read
By | November 16th 2010
BUSINESS

By David Ochami

Southern Sudanese in Kenya have begun registering in several towns for the January 9 referendum.

There are, however, fears the Government in Khartoum is plotting to manipulate the Diaspora vote.

A group, Youth for Separation, yesterday urged Southern Sudanese in Kenya to register at centres in Nakuru, Ifo, Kakuma, Kitale, Eldoret and Nairobi and vote against unity with Sudan’s North.

A Sudanese living in Kenya has her fingerprints taken at a centre in Nairobi, in registration for their country's separation referendum set to be held in January 2011. [PHOTO: MARTIN MUKANGU/STANDARD].

But other civil society agencies from South Sudan and the mission of the Government of South Sudan (GOSS) in Nairobi accused the rival National Congress Party (NCP), with whom it is locked in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), of plotting to provide citizenship certificates to non-Sudanese living in border areas and towns in Uganda and Kenya to influence the referendum.

The sceptics allege the foreign groups are being manipulated by NCP to register, but not vote in order to undermine the voter turnout and deny the referendum international legitimacy. Unconfirmed reports indicate some Kenyan ethnic Nubians, who have lived in Kenya for close to a century, have been enrolled as Southern Sudanese to inflate the South Sudanese vote to 90,000 strong.

The SPLM and GOSS also disputes the figures of Southern Sudanese said to be living in Kenya as given by the International Organisation for

Migration (IOM) and the co-ordinator of the Countdown to South Sudan Referendum society John Anduga Duku says the foreign vote is an avenue the NCP intends to manipulate to sabotage the referendum.

Most South Sudanese living in Kenya were not counted in the recent Referendum, whose outcome the SPLM rejected.

IOM claims there are about 100,000 South Sudanese in Kenya, but the GOSS chief diplomat in Kenya Michael Majok says the "figure is exaggerated."

Officials of the Youth for Separation group said in Nairobi that in spite of the problems, Southern Sudanese, with or without documents, should turn up at the seven locations to register.

Jocelyn Oboy Itorong read a statement in Nairobi for the group yesterday, saying "most Southern Sudanese living here have either UN documents or papers issued by the authorities in Sudan."

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