Confusion and chaos plagued polling stations in Sudan, which this week held its first multi-party election in 24 years. Throughout the election, EDC’s Sudan Radio Service (SRS), the first independent radio news service in Africa’s largest nation, broadcast daily news and interviews, which can be read online.
During the election, SRS spoke with voters and election officials in Wau, Western Bahr el-Ghazal state:
Isaac Makuac Maciek Mayom: “I was registered here in this center but when I came here my name is not there and this is my slip may you take a picture of it to show to other people. This is oppression to me, my children’s future and the country. I wanted to tell people through the media not only me, we are many, over two hundred and ten people whose names are missing. And I am number one hundred and one among them.”
Lino Ancient Anei: Our work has stopped since morning because we have run out of material after three days. The chairperson of State High Election came here and promised to send more to us but it is twelve thirty and still no material, nothing, has arrived yet. There are people coming to vote but we don’t have any ink for indexing or forms for registering the numbers of voters, or material needed to allow them to vote. If this material is not here, do we just allow them to vote with no records? Then this will be a fraudulent election.”
Peter Emmanuel: “From what I can see, the people are not coming, the voters are not coming to the center, and I have no answer why they are not coming. Even this extension of two days, we just heard it over the radio and nobody except our CEO told us to continue the work. We were about to count the votes because the three days were over.
On the first day, polling and schedules were in some disarray. SRS reporter Ayuen Panchol sent this report: “Most of the polling centers I visited started late, and others were reportedly still waiting for voting materials by noon. [One polling spot] had only ballot boxes. The head of the station … told me that they had still not received the voting papers. They borrowed tables and chairs from the neighbors. No desks, no chairs. Polling did not start until 1 p.m.”
Established by EDC and supported with assistance from the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), SRS provides independent, nonpartisan programming in English, Arabic, and 10 Sudanese languages. SRS election coverage will include daily on-the-scene reports as ballots are cast for president and parliamentary and state assembly seats under the agreement that ended the war between north and south Sudan.
Voters will be casting ballots for President Omar al-Bashir’s ruling National Congress Party or for the main opposition party, the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement. SRS is reporting that more than 16 million people are expected to vote during the official three-day polling period.
SRS has also begun construction on a new radio station in Juba. Broadcasts are currently handled out of its studios in Nairobi, Kenya, in collaboration with news bureaus in Sudan. SRS’s new radio station is expected to be live by summer and will provide daily news, information, and entertainment programming on FM 98.6.
To read daily news reports of the elections, go to http://www.sudanradio.org/news.
Originally published on April 12, 2010