Home | News    Wednesday 12 January 2011

Lakes state: Voter cards were not sold says Wulu county referendum official

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By Manyang Mayom

January 11, 2011 (WULU) - A referendum official in Wulu County of Lakes state has said that the 909 voting cards confiscated by security officers had been under his custody, adding that the man arrested has nothing to do with these cards and should not be associated with them.

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Governor Chol Tong Mayay seeing voter cards in his office in presence of his private secretary Mayen Maluaac Thursday Jan 6, 2011 (Photo by Manyang Mayom)

This week, Lakes state governor displayed the referendum cards in his office during press conference claiming that opposition party SPLM-DC had bought the voting cards from civilians in the county.

Security services confiscated 909 cards belonging to referendum voters on Wednesday night at a house in Wulu County. Isaac Akot Dubo, the Wulu County chairman of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic change (SPLM-DC) was arrested in association with the cards.

Sudan’s south is holding a referendum do decide whether it should secede from the north as aprt of a 2005 Comprehensive Peace Agreement between the former southern rebels – then Sudan People’s Liberation Movement (SPLM) and Sudan’s ruling NCP.

Before last year’s April elections a faction of the SPLM led by veteran politician Lam Akol led a breakaway group SPLM-Democratic Change in order to fight for seats against the SPLM the south governing party.

Akol, the chairman of SPLM-DC, said that party had told their supporters to register for the referendum and vote for their own choice. SPLM-DC deny they had anything to do with the captured voting cards.

“We have nothing to do with referendum voter cards at this moment because we are not holding [an] election. We are holding [a] referendum, which is the part of South Sudan Comprehensive Peace Agreement implementation.”

In an exclusive interview with Sudan Tribune on Monday in his home village of Guba located in the western part of Wulu county, Isaac Deech Yaka Mading who heads Guba Polling Centre in Wullu County, explained why the cards had been in his house.

He said that the 909 cards were in his custody with the consent of three local chiefs for security purposes.

Deech further explained that, Isaac Akot Dubo, the Wulu County chairman of Sudan People’s Liberation Movement for Democratic change (SPLM-DC), the man arrested in connection with the cards was his brother’s friend who happened to have spent a night at his house. He said he had been surprised to here the allegations from the Lakes state governor that the arrested man had paid money to some voters in exchange of their voters’ cards.

The polling center head said that the confiscation of the cards had contributed to a low voter turnout at his polling centre. The issue is contentious as a 60% turnout of registered voters is needed for the southern independence vote to be valid under referendum law.

Deech further explained that the decision to collect the cards from voters was prompted by the general insecurity in the area and what he described as the carelessness and vulnerability of the people, adding that the three local chiefs considered his house to be safer than their own and that they had trusted him to look after the polling cards.

He challenged the claim that he had broken referendum law by collecting cards from voters saying that considering the situation on the ground, as he and the three local chiefs perceived it, they decided it was best to supersede the law.

Deech criticized the security officers, who confiscated the voting cards, for not consulting him as the owner of the house and as a referendum officer in relation to the cards. He said that his house had been unfairly raided and personal valuables including money had been impounded by government security officers.

He also decried the publication of the raid by the media both nationally and internationally, saying that the information published was false and had tarnished the image of Wulu County. He appealed to the Government of Lakes State to return the cards to enable voters to take part in the referendum. Voting is running from January 9-15, with the result expected to be announced mid February.

Guba polling centre of Wullu County has 1,598 registered voters. Of that number 909 will not be able to vote until the cards are returned Deech said.

There were less than 50 voters on the first day of polling on Sunday. By the time Sudan Tribune left the center on Monday, only 65 voters had cast their ballots.

(ST)

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  • 12 January 2011 07:45, by Bol Deng

    The first introductory Paragraph alone has demonstrated the that the referendum plus SPLM-DC official must held accountable this kind of crime.

    Why do security confisticate those cards if they were not sold out?

    Why are we so foolish like this to do the job of Jallaba always.

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    • 12 January 2011 08:40, by Abednego Majack Macharial

      You see, that is why I called this bastard an unprofessional reporter. He is countering his own report. Didn’t he realize at last that he rush to the media without proper and balance report by getting words/views from Akot and Deech (the owner of the raided house) who have been alleged by the state security agents, to have conspire in selling the voter cards? Who do you think will believe in what you said even if you point it with your fingers? I wonder how Lakes State is bitting itself while being entertained by her own citizens.

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    • 12 January 2011 13:28, by Rambang Deng

      I told you the other day that it was a tribal motivated charge against the people of Wulu. Most journalists have hard time trying to find a single Southerner who could vote for unity, let a lone 909 voters from one polling station. May almighty God save us from these incompetent souls of BG.

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  • 12 January 2011 08:03, by omoni Atari

    Generally, whole article does not making senses,
    mr. reporter, dont give public incomplete information,is it lack of knowledge or what?

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  • 12 January 2011 08:09, by junub

    To me, the SPLA security personnels should have to deal with this man calls Deech and his brother as well. Because merely it doesn’t make any sense at all for him to use his house as a storing place for the voting cards.

    Deech’s statement is nothing but a mere cover up to the plot he, his brother, and the friend of brother had planned to bought the voting cards from the people and to let the SPLM-DC chair in Wulu to run north with them.

    Those three chiefs, plus he Deech and his brother should be let to pay big price on the plot they make leave alone the shame he is talking about had been brought up the Wulu county.

    Those who sole their voting cards in Wulu should have known that without their voting all, still we will secede south from north. I’m feeling someone is going to pay big price after referendum if not really now.

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    • 12 January 2011 15:46, by Facts Check

      Yaaaaaa Awier!!!!!!!!!!

      You are very stupid...do you want security to deal with the chiefs too? This is not the only county were communities kept cards at one secure place. We are not in America/Canada or England where you have locks for every house! We are in Southern Sudan.

      Come and maybe you will understand why this is not a bad idea...if the cards have not been returned to their owners by now then the county commissioner and governor need to be called to law.

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  • 12 January 2011 08:43, by Deng E. Manyuon

    The intention to keep registeration cards in a secure place was in a good faith. However, the method and approach used to fix the issue of insecurity and vunlerability was very terrible and reckless. 3 chiefs intention to collect cards from their people makes sense. All of us know the vulnerability of Wulu people. Above all, the insecurity in that area is an issue. But keeping them with the Referendum official in Wulu was a grave violation to the Referendum Act. Why not keep them with either banks, churches, commissioner office or chief place?

    Please return these cards to their owners inorder to enable them cast their votes. They might be innocent at the end!

    Deng

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    • 12 January 2011 09:01, by Bol Deng

      Mr Deng,

      Why do they keep the registration card that belong to other people? do you thing that those cards has no place to be keep?
      Keeping these cards is very simple other than storing their grains.
      This is a complete crime beyond reasonable doubt.

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      • 12 January 2011 10:46, by Deng E. Manyuon

        Bol Deng

        I wish if I could hear responses from the 3 chiefs’s involvement! Let me repeat myself here that if the intention of these chiefs was to keep those cards in a safe and secure place, then nothing wrong with that. For some body who visited the area, it is very logical to confirm the rational behind the intention. The vulnerability of the people and the hostile environment in the area should not be denied.
        Those who visited the area might agree with me that even the way they build their huts and shelters is very exposed and vulnerable.

        Yes the method they used was not correct. They should have at least kept them in the banks in Rumbek.

        I 100% agree with those who say that it is not a big deal... just return the cards to their owners. Let this community exercise their right. We should not be emotional.

        On the other side, I don’t think the reporter Mr Manyang Mayom has disgraced his professionalism as a journalist nor has he abused its ethic as some commentators of this forum put it. He is to report. He was invited by the Lakes State government secretariat to the press conference. He covered it. Today he also reported the other side of the story. This is a balancing that needed in reporting. He ehtically reported both sides of story.

        Deng

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      • 12 January 2011 15:53, by Facts Check

        Bol,

        We are not in America/Canada or England where you have locks for every house and security for everybody!Do you know why people have body guides with all kinds of weapons? We are in Southern Sudan my friend.

        Come and maybe you will understand why this is not a bad idea to keep the cards at one secure place. This is not the only county were communities kept cards at one secure place.

        if the cards have not been returned to their owners by now then the county commissioner and governor need to be called to law.

        DON"T PLAY WITH REFERENDUM GOVERNOR!!!!!!

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        • 12 January 2011 21:17, by John M. Atem

          Folks, It is totally absurd to collect voting cards from the rightful owners and displayed them as if they have been confiscated from the irresponsible people. This is totally absurd and irresponsible reporting and this man called Manyang should immediately apologize to people of greater Wulu county. Nobody in the Southern Sudan now wanted to vote for that unattractive unity.

          The people of Southern Sudan have already decided in unison to vote for their separated country and here you have people like Governor Chol and his irresponsible reporter Manyang who wanted to make themselves look good by displaying voting cards that they have collected from innocent people.
          Shame on them and those who have allegedly collected these voting cards.
          We should be greatly concerned with these kind of peopl.They just wanted to stink air with their unsubstantiated reporting.

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    • 12 January 2011 09:22, by Peter Mading

      Just imagine. I did suggest the posible cover up answer for the accussation that " Careful custodian of voter cards". This is all madness. No one should keep the voter cards of another if at all the referendum is to be conducted in free , fair and transparent atmosphere. See now it has got complications.

      The best safer place to store properties is the bank and not any other facility or insitution. KCB is in Rumbek why not keeping them at KCB?

      Anyway, I suggested in the first similar article that captured voter cards need to be despatched ASAP to their owners so that they voted under very closed supervision. Let the people of Gubo payam make their choice whether for unity or Seperation instead of holding those cards.

      Beli, just wake up and be aware of what is happening. South Sudan is to be an independant State. Do not be fool by your leaders. Next time do not accept to led your voter cards be kept by someone else. This is not the end of voting. You will still cast your votes when electing your leaders.

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  • 12 January 2011 08:58, by Aleu

    Manyang Mayom.

    I think this is really enough evident and I don’t think anyone have to argue in this fact. I wish if the Southern Sudan was not a lawless unborn young nation then, these people should have to face approximately of 15 years or more in jail, because buying vote cards is part of criminal behavior that, against the law for the nation and also against individual rights in the nation.

    If these people are not satisfied yet on Northern Sudan domination then, they should take his own vote and cast it for unity instead of throwing away the 909 votes rights for Southern Sudanese that, are needed to be count at this important time in the Sudan’s history. Any way let everyone keep eyes on those people but overall thanks the Lake State residents for good observation.

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  • 12 January 2011 09:26, by Tambura

    Why making small problem big? They can just return the cards to the owners so they can vote finish.

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    • 12 January 2011 10:09, by SPLM-DC

      Dear Governor Chol Tong Mayar,

      Went people of Lake State elected you to be their Governor, they do so thinking that you will be independent governor that will treat his people fairly regardly of political party. we members of SPLM-DC party are suprise to learn that you are using your governorship to score political points against your oponnets. please release our member as soon as possible and we need you to appology to our party.

      to reporter Manyang, been Journalist is to be independent when reporting a controversial topic like this.

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  • 12 January 2011 10:13, by Deng William Makur Deng

    Media officials should not behave that way, should you report what is not righ, no. now you have disgraced the man and had been in custody which is not good then.

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  • 12 January 2011 10:38, by junub

    I thought everyone was told by referendum staffs that this registration card should not be given to anyone else nor to let someone keep it for you because you never know he or she might got lost during the time you want to go and vote.

    I think governor Chol Tong have let the security keep the record of the name of those who sold their cards, and give back cards to this traitors at the polling center to cast their ballots whether for separation or unity than not to vote and then to deal with these traitor people latter on.

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    • 12 January 2011 11:39, by Citizen

      All a covered up!

      Yes it is good to hear the other party, but the picture shown here is all a cover up why?

      Simply, keeping the voting card is just like keeping your wallet or money, why can you trust somebody to keep your money. Is it true that the ballots card were taken for safety, is there any rule that say that once you die your ballot can still be valid because the excuse that WULU COUNTY IS NOT SAFE; No really logic here, why only in Wulu county and not the entire of the lake state and also in house of the SPLM DC’s friend?

      There is a cover up here if not the Three chiefs, and the friend of the SPLM DC can be interrogated.

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    • 12 January 2011 15:08, by Muor-cinkok Tungawan

      Mr. Junub, where is your nation heading too, particularly in lake state led your former uncle governor by Mr. Chol tong? If he is dictator leader, he seems like who does not want other effective leader to exercising their leadership abilities in the state. In addition, you defensively on his mistake had mostly done since he become governor are you fighting in pretext of his leaderships because fate up of independent minded as you do before others lake state government? Are u satisfied fit in now and no need to fight publics as advocate anymore, is it?

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  • 12 January 2011 11:53, by makuei

    Oops, what a twist. The reporter was the one who rushed to Sudan Tribune reporting the cards’ purchase saga. Now, in the second paragraph of this news report, he uses the word ’claim’ to point finger at the Governor of Lakes State as the person who was accusing the SPLM-DC of buying cards from Wulu population.

    Some style up necessary here.

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    • 12 January 2011 13:18, by Genuine Leader

      Dears readers.
      my question to Wulu cheifs, why registration cards kept in one person house which is not mentioned by SSRC bill?
      Genuine leader.

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      • 12 January 2011 15:42, by Muor-cinkok Tungawan

        How do you justify been genuine leader while you don’t know the causes that letting chiefs stored the cards in their house in southern Sudan? I can simply answered your question in way that you could not believe at least your mother answer it for you. In the simple format; first, chief’s houses are more secure and respectful which no one in southern Sudan to be access. Second chiefs are spearheads in war between south and north Sudan which no have dream that they will encouraged scandal to destroy referendum. Third, they are trustworthy with the right of legitimacy to keeps cards in their house despite your bill without article

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      • 12 January 2011 16:06, by Chol Buoi

        What a fool Gov’t of Lakes State!!! And What shows that cards were sold to SPLM-DC? Having a little education in mind is a big problems because you guys have tarnished our image for nothing but still we will blame poor local reporter of Lakes state(Rumbek)

        Wulu is Wulu. Nothing will never change but some of you will remain like that gossip (tittle-tattle)

        Sorry for being a citizen of this useless State!!!!!!

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  • 12 January 2011 15:40, by Facts Check

    I read the following article the other day on Fachodo.org about the cards by SPLMDC member. I am not for political assisination of characters as a principle and that is why I gave the story no good foundation when I read it last time:

    *******************************************************
    The lies about cards buying in the lakes state PDF Print
    Written/Submitted by Dr. peter adwok otto
    Sunday, 09 January 2011 00:00

    We issued earlier today a press release refuting the allegations peddled out in the media by the authorities in the Lakes State about an alleged buying of registration cards by an SPLM-DC member. This evening, the same authorities appeared on the SSTV repeating the same baseless allegations dragging in the good name of SPLM-DC.

    We had earlier advised those authorities that if the allegations were true, they should follow the legal procedures against the accused as an individual, i.e., carry out the necessary investigations until the facts are established. Then, and only then, would a statement on the case be released.

    By insisting on using the media and continuing to drag the name of SPLM-DC into this soddy lie, these authorities have left us with no choice but to respond.

    In the first place, our member, Isaac Akot Dobo, the Chairman of SPLM-DC in the Lakes State, was arrested by the Commissioner of Wulu County in the house of a relative of his who was the Chief registration officer in one of the registration centres in the county.

    He and not Akot was the one who owned the registration cards. To keep them in his house is illegal and we have sensitive information as to why he was keeping such cards in his house and our sources suggest that they were being kept with the knowledge of the Commissioner.

    Cde Isaac was arrested by the Special Branch and not the Police in that house and dragged into custody together with the cards. Then followed the wild allegations that he was caught with 909 registration cards that he bought from the citizens!!! Some obvious simple questions impose themselves: How many people complained or were caught selling their registration cards to him?

    Can such a huge number of cards be bought in two days in a small place like Wulu? Since the names and thumb prints of the persons concerned are shown on the cards, why aren’t they arrested and displayed in public? More fundamentally, for what purpose would Cde Isaac Akot buy the cards? The authorities claimed that he and SPLM-DC wanted to disrupt the referendum. But, how?

    This disruption could happen in one of two ways. If the idea was to deny those people from voting, then this must be the height of ignorance, for even if one does not carry a registration card he/she could still vote, provided he/she could produce an identification or be identified; conditions which were needed to issue the card in the first place. The registration card simplifies the procedures but is not a necessary condition for voting.

    If the act was to vote on behalf of the persons concerned, how would that be done in view of the strict observation and the indelible ink? So, in either case, it would have been a futile exercise not worth the money, effort and time put on it.

    The truth of the matter is that the whole story is a fabrication intended to settle personal scores and smear the good name of the SPLM-DC by those who joined the separation camp at the eleventh hour. It is an open secret that the Commissioner of Wulu County holds a personal grudge against Cde Isaac Akot since the latter joined SPLM-DC and worked hard for it in the last general elections.

    This unfolding theatrical behavior is part of this personal vendetta. But, they picked up the wrong case at the wrong time. The wrong case, because it is the leadership of SPLM-DC that put self-determination back into the political map of Sudan at a time when some quarters were priding themselves of having shot the first SPLA bullet against the separatists!

    If those quarters have become converts to separatism, then they should be humble enough to respect those they found in that field. To allege that SPLM-DC could spoil the referendum is not only preposterous but is like a loving mother strangling her child.

    The message of SPLM-DC in this referendum is crystal clear all over the South. Why would this tiny Wulu be an exception? It is the wrong time to manufacture such lies, because we thought the South-South reconciliation last October has opened up a new page of cooperation between the SPLM and SPLM-DC that left behind the bitter past.

    It appears the authorities in Lakes State still labour under that past. This cheap propaganda will not help. Our concrete information is that Cde Isaac Akot Dobo is being held incommunicado and subjected to severe torture. We demand that he be handed over to the police, investigated and either brought to a public trial or be set free.

    The authorities in Lakes State should stop forthwith trial through the media so that justice may take its course. The people whose registration cards are alleged to have been bought must also be investigated as it is also an offence to sell these cards. You should stop abusing the intelligence of the people of South Sudan.

    The Information Department SPLM-DC.

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  • 12 January 2011 20:41, by mack waweru

    What counts is not what the media or press men report,but police investigations. Thus, internet pundits of ST should realize that media and press have no friends and enemies and as such, it is absurd to lash out at Mr.Mayang Mayom.

    It was a contravention of the SRRC Act to collect FRR cards from voters for storage. Whoever was in the house is a culprit of any suspicision, whether the accused DC man and the owner of the house until the conclusion of the investigation clearly declares what the reason was.

    Mack Awer

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  • 13 January 2011 07:40, by Mading

    The people accountable here are the Wulu county commissioner, the Lakes State governor and their stupid money minded journalist (Manyang Mayom) who spoiled the name of our state thinking they are spoiling the name of SPLM-DC. This SPLM-DC guy in police custody must bring the three cocks to justice if at all justice is still alive in Lakes State.

    The chief was trying to avoid cards of his subjects getting lost before they cast them into the separation box. And these who are against our independence amalgamated everything.

    Gideon Chilur (Wulu county commissioner) has spoiled the image of Wulu county by accepting that the cards were bought actually.

    Poor and unprofessional money minded Manyang later came in and traced out that during April elections, Wulu county citizens voted in two independent candidates and this led to Wulu county being not given any ministerial position.

    All these are making evidence that Wulu county is an enemy of peace in the south, hence all the time they will fall a victim of all circumstances.

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  • 13 January 2011 08:12, by Malou Luiny Joseph

    I think everybody involved in this case has done his best except the journalist who immediately took action and rushed to the media as many put it. The security did their best to make sure that the refendum goes well and that nobody takes away cards belonging to voters. It was now their work to look into the matter and see to it that the accussed is detained and further investigation goes on uninterrupted. secondly if they (Journalists)neeeded to publicise this thing, then they should have done it after some time after finding out the truth.

    The step taken by the local chiefs wasn’t carrying any fault because the they are also who have been doing their best to gaurd and make sure the referendum goes on well and they had to take the cards to a safer place which they presumed to be their houses which are very safe. This would have been found out to be a lie if the security officers had gone to the houses of the other chiefs and found that there were no cards hidden there as the decision has been said to have come from the chiefs who said their houses were safer places to store the cards.

    People should after finding that the cards were collected, go the the individuals whose cards were collected and carry out an intensive check and investigation on the issue before the media graps the information as a news. Maybe, if this was a plan to sell, then the various people without the cards would have given different information regarding the collection of the cards from the citizens.

    It is now not justified that the cards in Wulu were collected by the chiefs or the SPLMDC guy as a matter of reducing the turn out.

    So please Rumbek dominant media GUY ! give as accurate information and also gaurd the name of our state. This you can do through your good work in reporting accurate information. Avoid using people who are unprofessionals in the media to relay you information because they do not know what kind of information is supposed to go out.They give you raw information only to find favors and appreciation. We should also be patriotic and display good image of our state to the outside world.

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