From United Nations Mission in Sudan (New York)
Monday, 12 April 2010 (with thanks to AllAFrica):
When Sudan held its last elections over two decades ago, Maria Majok of Warrap State was just a baby on her mother’s back.
“My mother told me that I was a three-month-old baby when she participated in the elections 24 years back,” said an elated Ms. Majok.
A student at Kuajok Secondary School and currently pregnant, Ms. Majok cast her vote on Sunday, the first day of polling, at Anguei polling station just outside the capital Kuajok.
Smiling and enthusiastically waving her inked finger after she finished voting, Ms. Majok was excited to cast a ballot for the first time in her life, stating that she looked forward to a bright future for her family as a result of the elections.
“I am very happy to participate in this election. I am looking forward to a future without war and displacement,” she said.
While a high turnout of people was smoothly casting their votes at other polling stations around Kuajok, some centres were marred by logistical problems and delays.
Ajok Akuei, 68, arrived at Freedom Square polling station just after sunrise eager to vote, but waited in a queue for over three hours before its doors opened. When her name failed to appear on the voters’ list, Ms. Akuei visited four other polling stations to no avail.
Marla Kuol, Deputy Team Leader of Warrap State High Committee, blamed the name confusion on the arrangement of voter lists in alphabetical order. “Now we are working hard to redistribute the voter lists to each centre again.”
But none of the teething problems experienced on the first day of voting seemed to have affected Ms. Akuei’s spirits. Mindful that there were still two days of scheduled balloting in her nation’s historic general election, she vowed to continue seeking a polling station with her name on its list of registered voters.
“I have my card with me and I want to vote because it is my right,” said Ms. Akuei. “I will wait until the end.”