Uganda: South Sudanese register to vote following threats of boycott

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The Sudanese embassy in Uganda has started registering Sudanese nationals living in Uganda ahead of their 2010 elections. The registration follows threats by the government of southern Sudan to boycott the next year elections if registration of its nationals did not take place in Uganda, Kenya, Democratic Republic of Congo and Ethiopia.

The Khartoum government had not planned for the Sudanese living abroad to participate in the elections but conceded after threats from southern Sudan.

The Sudaneses ambassador in Uganda, Hussein Awad Ali said that the exercise which started yesterday will go on until the end of this month. He said that only those who register will be allowed to vote in the elections to take place next year.

Sudanese Passport

“To qualify for registration one must hold a Sudanese passport, be above 18 years, and reside in Uganda. Those without passports should register with the embassy and receive a certificate of nationality and later a passport.”

A southern Sudanese embassy official in Kenya, William Taban said, “The registration of Sudanese in Kenya started on Monday. Hundreds of Sudanese living in Kenya thronged the Sudanese embassy in Nairobi to beat the November 30th deadline.”

Taban said that they have started sensitizing Sudanese in Kenya about the election guidelines and their right to vote.

Presidential and parliamentary elections will take place in Sudan next year. The Khartoum government and southern Sudan rebels of SPLM fought for over 20 years before signing an agreement in 2005 which led to southern Sudan being given some autonomy.

The elections will be the first since the signing of the Comprehensive agreement which stopped the civil war.

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