Rural women wait in line to register as voters at Akobo town, Jonglei State (Copyright: Josh)

This is my second week at Akobo where I have been conducting a series of workshops on Community Security and Civilian Disarmament (a project of Safer World and UNYMPDA). I have been amazed at the level of mobilization by the county’s administration led by the referendum office and supported by the SSRRC. They are even using boats to reach some far flung bomas (villages) especially near the border with Ethiopia. The level and depth of organization, despite numerous challenges especially of access, is simply amazing. The SSRRC told me that they had set a target of about 15,000 but as at friday, the figure was slightly over 17,000. This is good news. Or is it? Remembering that requirement of at least 60% turnout for a legitimate secession result, the leaders have been asking residents who will not be around to vote not to register. They want at least 80% turnout. I think they’ll get more than that, based on my personal assessment after talking to people. This is good.

 

Returnees arriving in Akobo. Many people have returned to register as voters in the upcoming referendum