The announcement of independent candidate Colonel Bangasi Joseph Bakosoro as
winner of the hotly contested gubernatorial race in Western Equatoria State
was greeted with a mixture of joy and anxiety in the capital Yambio.
Market vendors closed down their stalls, some in fear of the increased
military presence in town due to tension over the vote, and others in joy
over the election results.
Twenty-one-year-old market vendor Paul Richard Gemenze said he was taken
by surprise when most of his colleagues began closing down their stalls, as
he had heard many false rumours that the results had been released. "But
this (result) is from NEC (National Elections Commission) … tonight I will
be in peace."
The increased number of soldiers on the streets had caused some Yambio
residents to flee the area before the result was announced by the NEC in
Khartoum on 26 April. "The presence of soldiers … has scared us. As a
result, we are sleeping in the bush," said Gabriel Henry Bnaba.
Thirty minutes after the result was announced, heavy rain fell for about
20 to 30 minutes, ending as abruptly as it had started. For many people, the
downpour was a sign of God's blessing and approval of the election outcome.
After the heavy rainfall, the streets of Yambio filled with supporters of
Col. Bakosoro, including children running and singing in Arabic, "Baba ja,
o'wuo, baba ja (Father has come)."
In other areas, soldiers joined youths in drinking spots, where they
poured beer on the streets and danced in praise of the new governor.
At Col. Bakosoro's home in central Yambio, supporters lined up to
congratulate him. Speaking to the crowd in the local dialect, Zande, the
incoming governor thanked them for their encouragement.
According to the 26 April NEC announcement, Col. Bakosoro garnered 78,563
votes, while his Sudan People's Liberation Movement rival and incumbent
governor, Jemma Nunu Kumba, received 73,057 votes.
Col. Bakosoro became the only independent candidate to win a governorship
in Southern Sudan.