Kenya's Role in Sudan


Beginning in 1983, Sudan – for the second time in its history – erupted into a bloody civil war between northern Sudan and southern Sudan. The civil war escalated in 1989 when a military junta took control of the weak government in Khartoum. The war resulted in the displacement of over four million Sudanese people, many of whom fled for refuge in Kenya.



Kenya is a founding member of the Inter-governmental Authority on Development (IGAD), which was founded in Djibouti in 1986 and now is comprised of seven African countries: Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan, Uganda and Eritrea. The peace talks between the Sudanese government and the Sudan People’s Liberation Movement/Army (SPLM/A) are carried out under the auspices of (IGAD). Kenya’s President Mwai Kibaki, is the chair of IGAD sub-committee on Sudan.

IGAD’s search for peace in Sudan dates back to IGAD’s engagement in the Sudan peace process began on 7 September 1993 when it established a Standing Committee on Peace to assist negotiations between the Sudanese government in Khartoum and the rebel forces from southern Sudan in an attempt to end the civil war.
In July 1993, the IGAD Sub-Ministerial Committee on the Conflict in Sudan established a “Secretariat for the IGAD Peace Process on the Sudan” based in Nairobi with the mandate “to carry out continuous and sustained mediation efforts with a view to arriving at a peaceful resolution of the conflict.”

Beginning in 2002, the government of Kenya helped to facilitate the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA), also known as the Naivasha Agreement, meant to end the second Sudanese civil war. The CPA resulted in six key protocols:

• July 2002: The Machakos Protocol – signed in Machakos, Kenya and agreed on broad principals of government and governance

• September 2003: The Agreement on Security Arrangements – signed in Naivasha, Kenya

• January 2004: The Agreement on Wealth Sharing – signed in Naivasha, Kenya

• May 2004: The Protocol on Power Sharing, Protocol on the Resolution of the Conflict in Abyei Area, Protocol on the Resolution of the Conflict in Southern Kordofan and Blue Nile States – signed in Naivasha, Kenya

In January 2005, the complete CPA was signed in Nairobi, Kenya. In addition to the six protocols, the agreement laid out a timetable by which Southern Sudan would hold a referendum on whether it would secede from Northern Sudan and become its own, separate, autonomous nation.


In January 2011, Southern Sudan will hold an independence referendum vote. Kenya has played an integral role in maintaining peace and preparing for the referendum:

• Since the peace agreement was signed in 2005, Kenya has carried out five years of shuttle diplomacy between Juba and Khartoum, the capitals of south and north Sudan, respectively, to keep both sides on track.

• Kenya has provided 35,000 primary school teachers to the south, which has suffered decades of neglect and fighting. In addition, Kenya has lent some of its best and brightest civil servants to help Juba create a professional civil service.

• Earlier in 2010, President Kibaki hosted an IGAD Special Summit on Sudan in Nairobi which called upon Northern and Southern Sudan to develop a working formula that would ensure collaboration for the effective implementation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement.

• President Kibaki recently spoke at the 65th Session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) where he called on the international community to lend its support to Sudan as it prepares for its January referendum.

• In a sideline meeting during the UNGA, he also pushed for other members of the IGAD, consisting of Djibouti, Ethiopia, Kenya, Somalia, Sudan and Uganda, to take initiative in ensuring the success of the referendum.

• At this year’s Global Peace Convention in Nairobi, President Kibaki and Prime Minister Odinga came together to call on the international community to support Sudan’s efforts to restore security with the January 9, 2011 referendum vote.