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Darfur states say registration for referendum reached 80%

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February 19, 2016 (KHARTOUM) - Governors of four Darfur states said the registration rate for the administrative referendum in their states has reached 80% and pointed out that the highest registration rate was amongst women.

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Sudanese voters check their names on lists posted outside a polling stations in the country’s first multi-party elections in decades in Khartoum on 11 April 2010 (AP)

Next April, the residents of Darfur region are called to determine the administrative status of the region as they have to vote the retention of the status quo of States system or the re-establishment of one region.

The governor of South Darfur Adam al-Faki said in a talk show broadcasted by the public Radio Omdurman on Friday, the referendum is a constitutional right, pointing the Darfurians will decide through the ballot boxes not the gums.

He noted there are signals that voters will likely opt for the retention of the States system, saying the registration is progressing well and the IDP’s are participating effectively in the process.

Al-Faki pointed that 600,000 people have registered in his state until Thursday, underlining that the security situation is stable and the registration centres didn’t witness any problem.

For his part, the governor of East Darfur state Anas Omer said the preparation for the referendum is going well and quietly, pointing that 38,000 people have registered in his state so far.

The governor of Central Darfur state Ga’afar Abdel-Hakam, for his part, pointed to the large registration turn out, stressing the registration numbers would increase in the next couple of days.

He said the registration process in the locality of Jebel Marra is progressing well, considering it a sign for the stable security situation in the area.

Since mid-January Jebel Marra has been the scene of violent clashes between government army and the rebel Sudan Liberation Movement (SLM-AW) led by Abdel-Wahid Mohamed Nur.

Last week, Abdel-Hakam voiced his opposition to the establishment of one region in Darfur saying it would create a new intermediary organ between the state and the presidency.

Meanwhile, the referendum committee in the locality of al-Kouma in the capital of North Darfur state, El-Fasher Friday said the 45,353 people have registered in 12 centres in the various administrative units in the locality.

The governor of North Darfur state Abdel-Wahid Youssef, who inspected the workflow in the registration centres in Al-Kouma Friday, said the procedures are progressing well, pointing the people have the right to choose between retaining the current status or re-establishing one region.

The referendum officer in the locality of Al-Kouma, Mohamed Obied al-Zaki said the women turn out has exceeded that of men, pointing that 70% of the 45,000 people who have registered so far are women.

In line with the Doha Document for Peace in Darfur (DDPD), Darfurians have to choose between the creation of a Darfur Region composed of the states of Darfur; or the retention of the status quo of states system.

The referendum has the support of former rebel groups signatory of the Doha framework agreement. But it faces some opposition from the dignitaries of the ruling party in the region.

Many in the strongly tribally divided region fear that this creation of the regional body would revive tribal trivialities.

The opposition and rebel groups insist on the timing and the legitimacy of the procedure. They say that referendum would not express the will of Darfurians, pointing to the IDPs and refugees in Chad who will not participate in the vote.

Also, several lawmakers called to delay the referendum saying the exercise will create a new turmoil in Darfur and also noted the huge financial cost of the referendum.

Last week, Darfur’s IDPs and refugees association rejected the referendum and considered it a trivial move in light of the continued conflict and displacement in the region.

Also, the opposition "Sudan Call" alliance called on the population of Darfur region to boycott the administrative referendum.

According to the latest census, the inhabitants of Darfur region are estimated at 12 million people including 5 million internal and external migrants.

(ST)

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