South Sudan monitors see risk of fraud in voter lists

South Sudan monitors see risk of fraud in voter lists
# 13 November 2010 22:39 (UTC +04:00)
Baku – APA. A south Sudan civil society umbrella group said on Saturday that voter lists for the southern referendum on secession could be falsified because it was not clear who would be eligible to vote, APA reports quoting “Reuters”.
Southerners will begin to register on Monday for the January 9 plebiscite, the climax of a 2005 north-south peace deal that ended Africa’s longest civil war. Most analysts expect the south to choose secession.
SuNDE, which brings together 75 south Sudanese civil society groups monitoring the vote, said the commission organizing the poll had not clarified which ethnic groups are considered southerners, which could cause mistakes during registration.
"Unfortunately the SSRC (Southern Sudan Referendum Commission) has provided little guidance on how to determine eligibility," SuNDE said in a statement.
That would be a particular problem in north-south border areas and in the north, where inter-marriage between tribes meant physical appearance alone would not be enough to identify a person of southern descent, it said.
"The lack of clarification on eligibility requirements could cause eligible voters to be denied registration and ineligible voters to be registered and leaves the voter registration process vulnerable to manipulation," the statement said.
SSRC spokesman George Makuer said the commission had not thought there was a problem over eligibility so had not made a list of ethnic groups that would qualify as being indigenous to the south.
"The commission doesn’t have that list because it was not seen as necessary -- the indigenous southern Sudanese are well known," he said.
One of the problem areas is Abyei, a disputed central region which is supposed to vote in a simultaneous plebiscite on whether to join the north or south.
The north and south have been unable to agree who in Abyei is eligible to vote, and this has stalled preparations for the referendum which is now unlikely to take place on January 9.
Makuer said he was not sure if the Dinka Ngok tribe in Abyei would also be eligible to vote in the southern referendum.
The south Sudan army meanwhile said the north had accidentally dropped a bomb on its territory while fighting rebels of the western Darfur region.
"There was an incident yesterday where one of their bombs fell into our territory and the two sides discussed it and reached a consensus that it was an unintentional bombing," said southern army (SPLA) spokesman Philip Aguer.
The northern army had been attacking Darfur rebels, he said.
The northern army said it had bombed the rebel Darfur Justice and Equality Movement (JEM) in southern Kordofan, 25 km (15 miles) from the border with south Sudan, and could not confirm a stray bomb had fallen south of the border.