Suliman Baldo on the Birth of South Sudan’s Historic Elections

The Republic of the Sudan, located in the north-eastern Africa, is the largest country in Africa and the tenth largest in the world by land area. It is bordered by Egypt, the Red Sea, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Central African Republic, Chad and Libya.

After gaining independence from Egypt, and the United Kingdom in 1956, Sudan suffered a civil war that lased 17 years and was subsequently followed by ethnic, religious, and economic conflicts between the Northern Sudanese of Arab and Nubian roots and Southern Sudan made up of Christians and practitioners of indigenous African  religions which led to a second civil war in 1983. In 1989. In the midst of continuing political and military struggles, Sudan was seized by then colonel Omar al-Bashir, who proclaimed himself the President of Sudan after a bloodless coup. He as ruled Sudan since then as authoritarian regime leader and is an indicted person wanted for crimes against humanity and war crimes by the ICC with a warrant of arrest over his head.

Sudan ended the civil war with the help of international mediation in 2005 and adopted a new constitution under a Comprehensive Peace Accord (CPA) also referred to as Naivasha Agreement, with the Machakos Protocol (or Chapter I), signed in Machakos, Kenya on July 20, 2002 – Agreement on broad principles of government and governance. Under the CPA, Southern Sudan was granted a  limited autonomy, to be followed by a referendum about independence. The CPA also provided for a 6 year interim period, after which, the referendum for Independence of the South will be held in 2011. Southern Sudan has been ruled by the SPLM, the dominant rebel group under the CPA.

Sudan is rich in natural resources including crude oil, natural gas, gold, silver, chrome, uranium, copper, cobalt, and many others. We sat down to a conversation with Suliman Baldo on the historic elections in Sudan / South Sudan and his prognosis for post election South Sudan. 


Suliman Baldo is a widely recognized expert on conflict resolution, emergency relief, development, and human rights in Africa. He has worked extensively in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Ethiopia, Eritrea and the Sudan, and traveled widely throughout the rest of the African continent. In the 1980s and early 1990s, he taught at the University of Khartoum and worked as a Field Director for Oxfam America, covering Sudan and the Horn of Africa. He founded the Al-Fanar Center for Development Services in Khartoum, Sudan. He is currently Africa Director at the International Center for Transitional Justice. Suliman Baldo holds a Ph.D. in Comparative Literature (1982).


Wuyi Jacobs 

This article was originally published as Suliman Baldo on Sudan’s Historic Elections.

Useful Links
On open Democracy: Darfur’s peace plan: the view from the ground
On Vanity Fair: Seeking Justice in Africa

Hello, World!