Reinvasion of the Sudan and the Condominium Anglo-Egyptian Rule 1898 - 1956

Thu, 28 Sep 2017

                Professor/ Fadwa Abdulrahman Ali Taha


This paper deals with the Anglo - Egyptian reinvasion of Sudan 1896 - 1898, and its reasons. The paper discusses the Condominium Agreement signed in January 1899 and how it gave Britain the upper hand in the administration of the Sudan. The paper shows the political, administrative, social and economic changes introduced by the Condominium Rule. A section of the paper is devoted for the early resistance movements. It also discusses the stages of the development of the Sudanese nationalist movement and its factionalism. It tackles the constitutional developments 1944 - 1948 e.g. the legislative Assembly and the different reactions to its formation. The paper illustrates the Anglo - Egyptian negotiations following the outbreak of the military coup in Egypt in 23 July 1952, and the recognition of its leaders for the Sudanese right of self-government and self-determination. It explains the Agreement of Self - Government and Self - determination signed in 12 February 1953 and the stages of its implementation. The paper shows the factors beyond the Sudanese choice for complete independence rather the than the option of unity with Egypt.



      Since the British occupation to Egypt in September 1882, the second expected step, in the course of extending the British influence, was to occupy the Sudan. That is because securing the interests of Britain wouldn’t be possible without the control over the Sudan. But, the interests of Britain in Egypt and Sudan were not threatened till the year 1896, when the French government skirmished in the Upper Nile. Britain, since the occupation of Egypt, preferred that the Mahdist state in the Sudan existed to avoid the colonial struggle with the other European countries, especially France.
     But, Britain started to take the necessary steps that would enable it to invade the Sudan in future. The first step taken was to form a strong modern Egyptian army. It started to observe the internal situations of the Mahdist state and established an intelligence service sending a number of spies who penetrated all aspects of life in the Mahdist state.
     The Mahdist state became surrounded by the colonial penetration before sending the reinvasion campaign of the Sudan under the command of Kitchener. To the red sea, Britain sent military campaigns to Swakin to reduce the military pressure of Othman Digna, the prince of Mahdist of the east. In 1886, Kitchener was appointed ruler of Swakin and the beaches of the red sea, and Britain conquered Digna in 1890, occupied Toaker and the British secured the region of Swakin and the red sea .
     In the east, Italy occupied Massawa in1885. Early in 1890 Italy established a colony in Eritrea becoming a threat to Kasala. France threatened the Upper blue Nile region, especially the sources of it at the great lakes. France was aware of the importance of the river Nile to Egypt .also, Belgium after occupying the Congo was looking forward to expand in the Upper Nile, so, Britain decided to cooperate with it against the Mahdist state and the French greed. Despite the signing of a treaty between Britain and Belgium, France has moved and signed a treaty with Belgium in August 1894 in which Belgium was granted a convenient settlement . In November 1894 the French government ordered its minister of its colonies to occupy the biggest possible area of Upper Nile. Issued instructions to captain Marchand in February 1896 to occupy Fashoada  in the Upper Nile. In the year 1896 events scrambled, Italy was conquered in Adwat, and instructions issued to Marchand to march towards the Upper Nile and orders issued to Kitchener to start the first stage to invade the Sudan. The Mahdist state became surrounded by the dangers of colonial diathesis from the four directions .

The campaign of the reinvasion of the Sudan:

     The reinvasion of the Sudan in two stages. The first stage was when Kitchener marched southward to occupy Dongola, assisted by elite of higher rank officers. The soldiers were Egyptians at that stage. The Mahdist army was conquered in the first round by the invading army and Kitchener occupied Dongola and Meroe easily. After a visit to Britain, Kitchener was back to get ready fully invading the Mahdist state. He extended the railway road from Halfa to Abu Hamad .
     The Caliph for his part built his plan to draw the invading army to get in the Sudan and equip his own army fully to collide the enemy at the gates of Omdurman. The commander Mahmoud Wad Ahmed marched his army and centered on Matama . After the withdrawal of the army from Berber, became a front base. Strengthening Berber garrison resulted in reducing the influence of the Mahdist state in the hills of the red sea. In early April, Mahmoud reached at Alnikhaila with his army east of Berber, and a battle raged, where the fire arms had won .
     Kitchener marched towards Omdurman and camped in the plain area in between the mountains of Karary and Surkab . The Nile ships with guns were ready. The battle started in 2nd September 1898 by an attack by the Ansar(mahdists’ soldiers). Although it was a bold attack, the fire arms played a deadly role. The army of the Caliph had been conquered. The dome of the Imam Mahdi had been thrown by bombs, a political reason to prevent the supporters coming to visit it . In 4 September Kitchener crossed the Nile to the city of Khartoum, restored it a capital of the Sudan and a ceremony was held in which the British flag was raised first and the Egyptian secondly . The reason behind raising the English flag side by side with the Egyptian flag was meant that a private situation for the Sudan different of that of Egypt was decided, aiming in reality to impose a real control over Sudan by Britain, establishing a kind of administration in which the English to rule and Egyptians to pay. It was from this point came the Condominium participation. Lord Cromer mentioned that the Egyptian treasury bore the largest part of the invasion costs and the Egyptian forces lead by British officers did the most important part of the military operations. But, the Egyptian government was not able to do the reinvasion of the Sudan without the British aid .
     The mahdist state hadn’t come to an end by the end of Karary battle, the Caliph took refuge in the west, walked to Gadeer mount. After the autumn he moved towards the north heading to Omdurman. The British command sent a campaign and a battle was raged in which the Caliph was  conquered and killed. After a week of the battle of Karary, Kitchener marched to Fashoada and raised the Egyptian flag finding a resistance from Marchand . The French refused to withdraw and a diplomatic battle took place, finished by French waiver of Upper Nile to Britain .
    And so, the Mahdist state finished as a result of its internal weakness, fire arms and the colonial diplomacy.
The condominium agreement:
    The condominium agreement has formed the political and constitutional base to administer the Sudan for more than half a century. Theoretically, a Condominium Egyptian –British rule was instituted in the Sudan, but, actually the country became a British colony. The agreement ignored the question of sovereignty over Sudan and didn’t even point to the ottoman sultan who had the sovereignty at least theoretically, as the invasion of the Sudan in 1820 was in his name, and Egypt at that time was an ottoman province. Instead, the agreement was signed with the Khedive of Egypt who was legally a follower of the ottoman sultan. These legal affairs had no importance to lord Cromer, the British high representative in Egypt who engineered the agreement and signed it with the Egyptian government on behalf of his government in 19th January 1899 . On behalf of the Egyptian government signed Boutros Ghali, minister of foreign affairs.
     Article one of the agreement identified the political frontiers of the Sudan, stated that it includes all territories to the south of the latitude 22 north which was ruled by Egypt previously and has been restored or may be restored in future by the English and Egyptian armies, or those areas not cleared by Egyptian forces, or was not owned by Mahdist state. By that definition, the Sudan included Halfa and Swakin which were not occupied by the Mahdists’ armies . In the years 1899 & 1907, administrative agreements were signed which attached Halayeb triangle to the Sudan administration .
     One of the most important articles of the agreement, the third article stated that the head of the state is to be one person, i.e. Governor General. The article hadn’t mentioned the nationality of the Governor General, it wasn’t surprising that all governors were British. The fourth article defined the legislative authority and gave the Governor General the right to develop and change laws, regulations and bylaws. The Sudan was attached to the British ministry of exterior, not the ministry of colonies. In addition to that, the British occupied the high positions in the Sudan despite the fact that, Egypt  was providing 5/6 of the military force in the Sudan. All the advisers of the Governor General  and governors of most provinces were British officers. Egypt’s share in ruling was limited to the role of reimbursement of expenditure deficit of the Sudan budget.
Despite of the views of the Egyptian nationals at the Sudan as an uncut part of Egypt and at the condominium agreement was unfair, not based on international law, no resistance or protest against it happened until the end of the world war in 1918. That is due to that Egyptian nationals were busy by freeing Egypt of the British colonization. Despite the opposition showed by Egypt after 1919, the state of the relations between Egypt and the Sudan had been settled by this agreement. The Egyptian governments relied on the right of conquest in their view of Sudan . The agreement stayed unlawful in the view of the Egyptian political parties until the 1936 agreement was signed, which gave Egypt some abdications in Sudan . The flag(Al-Lwa), an Egyptian newspaper continuously criticized the British aggression on what it called the Egyptian rights in the Sudan, attacked ignoring Egypt in signing a frontier agreement with Ethiopia 1902, called for appointing an Egyptian ruler and warned the British intentions in Sudan .
     Since the reinvasion of the Sudan, Wingate the Governor General of the Sudan 1900-1916 assured that there was no need to fear from the return of the Egyptian rule to Sudan, he insisted on separating Sudan of Egypt under the supervision of the high representative in Egypt. Lord Cromer, the British high representative in Egypt 1882-1908 confirmed that there was no return of an Egyptian administration to Sudan .

Administrative developments:

     The British administration kept much of admin profiles the Turks had established, e.g. the names of the provinces, their borders and most of the administrative terminologies stayed as it was before . From the beginning, Britain worked to confirm stability of its administration by establishing a strong centralized system. Kitchener,  the commander of the reinvasion  campaign, was appointed a first Governor General for the Sudan, but, shortly he was called to rage the Boer war in south Africa. His successor, Wingate through sixteen years controlling the country 1900-1916 established the administrative bases and skeletons that managed the country during the whole period of the Condominium rule . Comes next to the Governor General in the administrative pyramid the three secretaries; the administrative, the financial and the judicial, then, chiefs of the general governmental departments and the intelligence service.
        The most important administrative development at the end of the first decade of the Condominium rule was creating the council of the Governor General in 1909. It was formed of the three secretaries, the general inspector and two to four members appointed by the Governor General. During the rule of Wingate, the council had had a limited independence, became as a ministry in the era of his successors .
     The administration of the provinces had been organized before the invasion came to an end, when Dongola was occupied in 1986 the commander of the army that invaded it was appointed a director. The condominium agreement did not mention the subject of the administration of the provinces. When Wingate was appointed, there were six provinces; Khartoum, Berber, Dongola, Kasala, Sinnar, and Kordofan . Fashoada and Wadi Halfa were considered as governorates at first, later this exception was cancelled in 1907, the province of the Blue Nile and Bahr Al Gazal were added and the name of Fashoda was changed to: the Upper Nile. In 1914 the mounts of Nuba was separated from Kordofan to be a province by itself. The director was the executive, legislative employee and the commander of the region. The administrative pyramid of the province included- after the director- the British inspector, then the Egyptian administrative officer, and appointing Sudanese administrative officers was began in 1912 .
     Important administrative development was, introducing the system of indirect governance by assistant of the national administration which was considered as an alternative for employing the educated layers in the administrative system. The law of the authorities of nomadic sheikhs was issued in 1927 to include all tribe leaders. In 1932 the law of the national courts which granted big authorities to the tribe leaders . The application of the indirect governance resulted in educational relapse.


   A Base to a modern educational system was established in the era of the Condominium-rule, James Cree was appointed a director of knowledge department in 1900 . Of his most important achievements was founding the Gordon College in 1902 with its sections: secondary, preliminary, industrial, teachers and judges training, other five preliminary schools, a number of primary schools and a military school. The scarcity of financial resources was an obstacle to education development. The opening of Gordon College has had a great effect in establishing the foundation of the development of education steadily in the Sudan, as this college formed the first nucleus graduating the first pioneers who lead the country after independence . A number of intermediate schools have been established in 1906 in large cities, Berber, Wad Medani, Omdurman, Khartoum, Swakin and Halfa.
     The scarcity of economical resources was not the only reason of limiting the spread of the education, there were other political reasons, as lord Cromer- the high British representative in Egypt- and the engineer of the Condominium agreement expressed the necessity of connecting the education with the job to take the attention away from revolution by employing them . Kitchener, Wingate and Cree shared Cromer his ideas. Tying education with the job resulted in reducing its role in developing the country. The purpose of the civil education at that stage was confined to create a layer of skilled manufacturers and spreading it among people to an extent they could understand managing the industrial machine, and training clerks in small jobs of the government . The reasons of the governments’ pursuit to execute the education system rapidly were to get rid of the Egyptians and Syrians who were working in the administration and the army, replacing them by Sudanese.
     The British administration launched a cruel campaign against the educated after the incidents of 1924, to be mentioned later, and reduced the opening of schools. A reform of education period began when Sir Stewart Sayemz was appointed a Governor General of the Sudan in 1934, as he adopted a somewhat liberal policy towards the educated layer affected by internal and foreign circumstances . The first steps in reforming the educational system were represented in reforming the educational curriculum of the primary and intermediate stages by founding the Bakht Alruda institute in 1934 .  The efforts of the government continued to reform the educational system, in 1937 sent the committee of de la Lauer which recommended  expanding primary education and praised the experience of Bakht Ruda, to be generalized over all the Sudan. Also, recommended expanding intermediate and secondary education and a plan to convert Gordon College to a university college . In 1946 a ten years plan was set to develop the education .
     In 1948 was founded the 1st legislative society and the first Sudanese minister of knowledge, Abdulrahman Ali Taha was appointed . Abdulrahman Ali Taha has had a deep experience in the Sudanese education affairs, gained it during his work as a teacher for 25 years, was promoted assistant director of knowledge department in1947, hence,was selected a first minister of education .
     The ministry of knowledge set a modified plan for education in the north of the Sudan covering the years 1949-1956. The minister cared for the primary and intermediate education, the modified ten-year educational plan cared for increasing graduated teachers especially for primary stage. The ministry cared for the primary education and to be free and compulsory. The secondary education expanded rapidly and the minister opened a new secondary school in Khor Tagat in 28/1/1950, beside the already existing ones; Hantoob, Wadi Saydna and Rhombik .
    As for the south of the Sudan, the minister worked to remove the differences between the education in the south and education in the north and adopted the Arabic as a common language and to be studied in the schools of the south. The plan contained the expansion in all educational stages and its kinds. The plan also mentioned five new intermediate schools in Malakal, Juba, Maridi, Wao and Anzara . About the technical education, the technical institute was founded and the minister explained in his statement for the legislative society in 1951 what has been accomplished in the program of expanding the industrial education .
     As for the high education and its emergence in the Sudan, in 1951 the memorial Gordon College was promoted to the university college of Khartoum and attached to it the Kitchener medical college, and immediately after independence became university of Khartoum . In 1955, the government of the Sudan signed an agreement with the Egyptian government under which approval was given to found the University of Cairo, Khartoum branch with three colleges of theory; commerce, arts and law. The study started in the evening in the buildings of the Egyptian secondary school in Khartoum. Most of the registered students were employees who combine work and study, giving chances to those who have the desire to continue their study and develop their scientific capabilities .
     As for girls’ education, the British administration hadn’t encouraged it at first fearing the reaction of the society. Sheikh Babiker Badri was the first to establish a private school for girls in Rifa’a the year 1907. He faced difficulties to open it .
     The citizens cared for the national education and founded Omdurman national primary school and an intermediate school joined to it. At last in 1944, the secondary section was founded, and in 1930, Babiker Badri founded Alahfad schools in rifa’a, then transferred to Omdurman .
The south of the Sudan:
     The British government has not seen in the south of the Sudan anything that has a direct or immediate economical interest, so, the control of the province was due to strategic considerations, the river Nile runs through it. It prohibited opening governmental schools because it believed it will lead to the spread of Islam in the south. The educational activity was left to Christian missionary organizations . Wingate, the Governor General and his assistants has worked to keep Islamic influence away and allow the Christian Evangelism in the south. A locally recruited brigade was established to replace the northern forces in order to stop the Islamic effect and from the northern traders as well .
     The British administration faced an escalating local resistance in the south continued for more than two decades, as the southern tribes considered the coming of the British rulers as foreigners for invading, killing and imposing taxes. The most dangerous resistance was that of the Nuer in which the government used land and air operations .
     After the end of the 1st world war, a stage followed in which the British administration concentrated its efforts to keep away the Sudanese and Egyptian employees from the south of the Sudan. The care given to keep away those elements was not replaced by care to find alternatives. The British administration followed an official policy towards the south in 1930, announced by what was known as the memorandum of McMichael the administrative secretary . In the memorandum was mentioned that the policy of the government in the south was to build a chain of tribal and racial units on the basis of local customs and traditions, keeping away the northern administrators, clerks and technicians gradually and replace them by southern elements. English language to be used instead of Arabic if local dialects could not be used. Before that, the law of passports and travel 1922 was issued, granting the Governor General the right to announce that any part of Sudan is a closed district .
     While McMichael’s memo codified the policy of separating the South of the Sudan from its north, ignored any talk about economical plans to develop education. When the ministry of exterior of Britain in 1942 discussed the possibility of Anglo-Egyptian negotiations after the war, the debate on the concern of Sudan was on two subjects: the incomplete political development of the north of the Sudan and the gap between north and south of the country. It seemed possible to divide the country in two parts; an independent north and a south to be attached to the British colonies in east of Africa . It is assumed that the British government had come to believe that the south with its economic backwardness would become a burden on its colonies in east and central Africa, hence left the policy of separation. On determining development of the north and south together, the British administration decided to hold a conference to discuss the subject more broadly and the Juba conference was held in June 1947. The most prominent issues discussed were the retention of British rulers with special responsibilities to the south until it reaches the development stage achieved by the north of the country. Although the conference abandoned the separation policy, the southerner’s conviction was not complete, that was clear in the way the southern members were discussing in the legislative assembly .

Economic development:

   During the Condominium rule, the economical developments were affected by many factors, most important was the scarcity of resources needed to this development. The country’s resources were limited and the country suffered from decrease of population at the beginning of that rule, a result of wars and famine through the Mahdist state, also, non-existence of a modern transportation system, especially the railways, land ownership disorder, shortage of skilled workers and modern methods of irrigation. As the British government claimed that the invasion of the Sudan was in favor of Egypt, the expenditure responsibility was on the Egyptian treasury and loans were used to meet the deficit of the budget and to develop the communications .
     At the end of the 1st world war, the Sudan achieved a progress in agriculture especially the cotton, as the care for planting it was the axis on which the agricultural policy of the British administration was adjusted to meet the needs of the British spinning and textile companies. The administration established the needed basic structures to cultivate cotton, and the Jazeera project was founded in 1925. Before that, the works of construction  of the Sinnar dam were completed to irrigate the project. The project resulted in improving the financial situation of the government of the Sudan, the Sudan had a high reputation accordingly. The project added positive effects to the Sudanese society, as it provided work opportunities for farmers and workers. The project has had negative points, as it depended on only one cash crop; i.e. cotton, as it was a raw material put it under the mercy of the global market that controls it .
    The British administration has relied heavily on taxes as an income, gradually imposing kinds and volume of taxes. The tithe tax was levied on land that was irrigated by rain. The tax on the agricultural production composed of two kinds: land tax &tithe. Also taxes were imposed on other products; e.g. elephant tooth, ivory and ostrich feather. The government earned a lot of custom fees. The development of communications was important for the economical growth, concentration was on railways development. Building up a new seaport on the red sea represented a great advantage to the economical history of the Sudan, the port officially opened in 1909. The railway line was extended from Khartoum North across the Blue Nile to the capital, south and west ward through Jazzera, White Nile to Alobeid. That was associated with the development in cotton cultivation in Jazeera project and the care for production and export of gum Arabia. The railway has had deep impacts on the social and economical life in the Sudan, as it connected the trade of Sudan by the outside world, cash crops and livestock flowed into overseas markets and imports have flowed to various regions. The Sudan commerce greatly developed under the shadow of the British rule, flourished largely in the first years of the Condominium rule as a result of the high demand on the agricultural products needed by Britain for some military industrial products and food to its armies, so, the exports rose. The agricultural products represented the base of Sudanese exports of raw materials; i.e. cotton, gum, oil seeds and animal wealth. Cotton represented %65 of the Sudan exports .
     In the first years of the rule, a number of laws has been issued specified to organize land ownership and the government granted itself the right of land ownership which had no owners. The survey of lands was the axis of the government interest, especially productive agricultural lands on the Nile. The system of registering lands systematically was introduced. Land registration system was one of the important achievements of the British administration, as the state became the owner of all agricultural and residential land which has no registered ownership, and land ownership law had been in action .
     In more than half a century, the British rule developed different    directorates of different social and economical levels under a centralized administration. The colonial economic policy preferred the middle parts of the country, like Khartoum and Jazeera due to the connection of its interests to those parts. These parts have had the largest share of education and economic developments.This economic policy lead to inequality of economic development among various parts of the country.
The Sudanese and Condominium rule:
     The relations between the Sudanese and the British had taken various aspects during the Condominium rule, as the goal of the British was to gain their friendship not their hostility. The British gave a special regard to the Islam, a regard due to their knowledge of the role of it in the society and the life of the people, and the danger of Islamic movements. Cromer ordered the British administrators not to intervene in the religious life of the people and to respect their feelings. They differentiated between two kinds of Islam in Sudan: a Sufi Islam called by them folk’s Islam and a Sunni Islam called traditional Islam. They fight the folk’s Islam, because, in their view, is a hotbed of unrest stemming from religious intolerance. So, they dealt with the Sunni scholars to assist in achieving stability. The British administration established in 1901the council of scholars, consisted of the Mufti, chief Judge and some scholars . The administration came to know that the influence of those was limited among the Sudanese public, so fighting of Sufi groups was time limited. It began first to approach the Sufi groups which fight Mahdeya, most important was the Khatmia sect under leadership of Sayed Ali Almirgani. The Ansar sect lead by Sayed Abdulrahman Almahdi was polarized when their support was needed during the 1st world war .
     The early years of the Condominium rule period was met by tribal religious and regional resistance movements , one of them was the movement of Abdulgadir Mohammed Imam( Wad Haboaba) in the region of Al Halaween in 1908, he was one of the followers of the Mahdi, attended Karary battle, after Mahdists’ defeat returned home and rebelled against the government in 1908 rejecting its policies. After he killed the English inspector and the Egyptian clerk, he was killed . The religious movements which faced the government were claiming of the prophet Jesus and the Mahdi. The tribal movement was   then concentrated in the Nuba mountains area and the south of the Sudan that figured a dangerous threat to the security. The most important regional resistance movement against the British rule was in Darfur Sultanate where Sultan Ali Dinar established an independent state in 1916. When the French activity near the boarders of eastern Darfur and Sultan’s response to Turkish ant-propaganda at the beginning of the 1st world war, the British administration was prompted to take a military stance against Ali Dinar, invaded Darfur in May 1916 and finally conquered Ali dinar in November of the same year .
     The national movement after the war went a new direction, attempts to create graduates’ association were there, a graduates’ club was established in Omdurman in 1918 which played an appreciated role of the literary, cultural and social activity. In 1920 the society of Sudanese unity was born which was the first political organization in the modern history of the Sudan, joining it was on the basis of political conviction, not the tribal base, the sectarian entity, ethnic association nor religious feelings . The white flag association was formed in 1924, concluded its aims in: Sudanese society aiming to free the Sudan from the colonizer. Many incidents followed in 1924, demonstrations spread in different places of the country, the year ended by suppression of the white flag .
     The intellectuals have moved away from politics after the events of 1924, worked on cultural activity represented in the emergence of literal societies such as dawn group, Aburoaf society, Port Sudan society, Wad Medani society and Alhashmab society. One of the most important events during that period was the Gordon College students’ strike in 1931 and the intervention of sectarian leaders to end the strike. The sectarian leaders began to show interest of the graduates. Al Fajr(the dawn) magazine appeared, its writers addressed the definition of nationalism, wrote critical articles criticizing sectarianism. Al Fajr defined the political vision for the Sudan and claimed its independence of both Egypt and Britain .
Graduates conference:
    The national movement developed by the appearance of Graduates conference which controlled over the course of the national movement since its establishment in 1938 till 1945. The factors lead to the rise of the Graduates conference were existing in the horizon since 1034, in that year,  a new Governor General was appointed who started to deal with the intellectuals; i.e. Sir Stewart Symes. As the treaty of 1936 between Egypt and Britain, the graduates were dissatisfied due to them being neglected in the negotiations of the treaty and what was stated that the main objective of the two governments – the British and Egyptian is the Sudanese welfare .
     The Graduates conference in the first stage of its formation concentrated on the cultural, social and educational issues, but it was not caring away from the international events which have developed by the outbreak of 2nd world war and its incidents. The Atlantic charter between the American president and the British president to support democracy after the war encouraged the conference to send the famous memo in April 1942 where it claimed the self-determination of the Sudan directly after war . The Graduates conference moved the wheels of education and politics in the Sudan, as the conference started its activity by social issues and shared in the education issue, by, either collecting donations for national schools or demanding the governor general to open more schools, until it revealed its true face by its famous memo which was raised to the administrative secretary. The split between the members of the conference lead to the appearance of the political parties . The most prominent criticism of the educational system was the memo of the Graduates conference about education in 1939. The memo touched on the reform in all education stages, concentration on the efforts of literacy, confirmed the importance of education for the political development .
The memorandum of the Graduates conference lead to create an atmosphere of tension between the conference and the British administration in the Sudan, the government has worked to make a difference in its ranks by bringing moderate elements closer and giving them promises to look at their demands, by adopting a gradual policy toward the self-rule. That conflict lead to the split of the conference and the rise of the Sudanese political parties under the care of the religious sects. The split of the conference was inevitable result in the occurrence of the Sudan being under a Condominium Anglo-Egyptian rule. The national movement split into two main sections, one of them adopted the demand of union with Egypt against the British colonizer- Brothers Party. The other section adopted the demand of the total independence, from which emerged the Umma Party who was tough in rejecting Egypt’s claim the sovereignty over Sudan, and raised the slogan; the Sudan for the Sudanese . Sayed Ali Almirgani sponsored the first section, Sayed Abdulrahman Almahdi extended his care to the second section . Sayed Ali was dissatisfied with the support of the British administration of Sayed Abdulrahman Almahdi influenced by the rumors that spread that  Sayed Abdulrahman was seeking to establish himself as king of Sudan by the assistance of the English . In 1945, when the Umma party was announced, the brothers’ party extensively used the issue of the kingship, as a result, a lot of people joined the brothers( Al- ashiga’a) camp.
      Beside the two parties- Umma and Ashiga’a- emerged the Sudan National Liberation Movement, which later became the Communist Party .
Prominent reasons lead to the appearance of this communist movement was it was affected by Egypt, as some Sudanese students in Egypt joined the Egyptian communist movement. The Egyptian Communist Party issued a program for Sudan since 1945, stated the unity on equality basis with the right to self-determination for the Sudanese, that includes the right to separate, finishing the British rule and evacuation of British troops. The rise of the Sudanese National Liberation Movement lead to the spread of trade unions among workers, farmers and the employees of the government. That affected the political status in the Sudan, and the political and agricultural demands shake the British administration in the Sudan. The movement used cities of aggregations such as Atbara, Port Sudan and Jazeera project to spread its principles and raised the slogan of the joint struggle with Egypt against the British existence .
     The Republican Party under the leadership of Mahmoud Mohamed Taha emerged in 1945, issued a program in which it criticized the Umma Party and Ashiga’a party for their association with Egypt and Britain, claimed the independence of Sudan from Britain and Egypt and called to the rise of a Sudanese Republic . In the general meeting of his party in November 1951, Mahmoud Mohammed Taha made a statement pointing at the deteriorating situation where there was no hope to reform unless the situation is changed by the evacuation of the British colonization .
    The Socialist Republican Party was founded in 1951, encouraged by the British administration in Sudan, most of its members were from the leaders of the clans and tribes. Ibrahim Badri became its general secretary, the constitution of the party included giving the Sudan self-rule in 1952 and to postpone self-determination to future . Robertson, the then administrative secretary mentioned that they encouraged to some extent the rise of this party as it would work for independence away of the Mahdi family, and some might join it from Khatmia and others who were afraid of the union with Egypt and fear of independence under the dominance of Sayed Abdulrahman .
     The Sudanese Women Union was founded in 1952, grew up in the embrace of the national movement which was at its peak, and the woman became seen notably to some extent in the media and the society. Some women shared in the national movement. Khalda Zahir was the first woman who shared in a demonstration against the colonization and against the Legislative Society in 1948, and was the first woman who was arrested for political reasons .

Constitutional institutions:

     The British administration succeeded in splitting the Sudanese national movement by establishing northern Sudan consultative council in 1944 against the Graduates conference which was the only organized organ at that time, as the conference shifted from the social role assigned to it in its famous memorandum in April 1942 in which it claimed self-determination immediately after the war. The council was criticized for its consultative rule and its restriction to northern Sudan without its south .
     The British administration again took another step in the way of self-rule, aimed gradual execution of self-rule and drawing away the Egyptian influence from Sudan by establishing the Legislative society and the executive council in December 1948. The Umma party participated in the society and Ahiga’a party boycotted it. The elections of the society was faced by demonstrations joined by Alashiga’a party, the Sudanese liberation movement, students and workers . The students and workers organized fierce demonstrations against the society since its opening in December 1948. This resistance slogans differed from the normal slogans “unity of Nile valley under the Egyptian crown” & “the Sudan for the Sudanese”, adopted the slogan of the revolutionary struggle against imperialism. The youth saw in the slogan of the unity of Nile valley a way of struggle against the colonizer more than an end in itself . Those years represented a critical stage of the age of the Sudanese national movement, pointed at by Noblock; i.e. emergence of a radical nationalism, its hostility was not limited to foreign rulers but extended to include the Sudanese whose interests were connected with the Condominium rule .
     Generally, the British administration in the Sudan benefited from the constitutional institutions to stop any concessions for Egypt in Sudan, worked to isolate the Egyptian influence on the country. Also, the rise of the Legislative Society and the executive council in December 1948 formed a decisive step in the way of constitutional developments in the Sudan for the connection of the events that followed their establishment; i.e. the reaction of the rise of those establishments towards the two countries of the Condominium rule and the stance of the national Sudanese to it and authorization of the self-rule constitution which formed the base of the negotiations of 1952-1953 between the two governments-Britain & Egypt, inside it .
     On the other hand, the  continuous claim of self-rule and self- determination, hence, determination of the Sudan’s political and constitutional position were most important reasons of the failure of the society and its deviation from the role assigned to it by the British administration; i.e. limiting its authorization and granting it a consultative role only towards the legislations before it . But the main factor behind the failure of the society was  its farness to form a basis of an elected parliamentary government as a result of the boycott of the unity parties to its elections, so, the parliamentary system that requires presence of opposition parties to the Umma party  in the society was absent . Hence, the Governor General formed a committee to modify the constitution of the Legislative Society and the executive council in March 1951. The Khatmia shared in the constitution modification committee amid offensive campaign from Al ashig’a party and Egyptian newspapers . The committee started its work in 22 April 1951. Egypt’s cancellation of the two condominium agreements(1899) and 1936 treaty in 8th October1951 formed another factor which created much shake and unrest in the committee. Anyway, the committee was able to draft a constitution for self-rule.
Agreement on self-rule and self-determination 12 Fbruary1953:
     The military coup leaders in Egypt have made a breakthrough on the Sudan issue by their recognition to the Sudanese peoples’ right in self-rule and self-determination and keeping the sovereignty on the Sudan to them. The foregoing Egyptian governments were insisting on the unity of the Nile valley under the Egyptian crown.
     As the British suggestions about the constitution of the self-rule which were authorized by the Legislative society in April 1952 were introduced to the new Egyptian government in 24 September 1952, the Egyptian government had already decided to consult the political Sudanese parties prior answering back to these suggestions by making notes about the constitution draft being aware of the Sudanese factor in Sudan self-determination. It was the aborted negotiations between the two governments- British and Egyptian- taken place in the period of 1948 till the date of the military coup in23 July 1952 were going on about the importance of this factor.
     The Egyptian government attached the utmost importance to negotiations with the independence front lead by the Umma party whose stance was characterized by the refusal of any form of the Egyptian influence in the Sudan, signed a historical agreement in October 1952. Negotiations with the unity parties was not difficult as they approved the stance of the Egyptian government about the British presence in the Sudan. The mission of the Egyptian government was to unify those parties in one party, the National Union Party. That was important and necessary for Egypt during the coming parliamentary elections, especially, the Ashiga’a party, most important of these parties, underwent a split in 1951. But this unification did not include a comprehensive and inclusive program .
    In light of its agreement with Sudanese political parties, the Egyptian government forwarded a memorandum to the British government in 2nd November 1952. At that, the negotiations between the two governments started in 20th November 1952 which resulted in signing the self-rule agreement and self-determination in12th February 1952. The memorandum included for the first time an Egyptian honest confession for the right of the Sudanese people in self-rule and self-determination, and the government was ready to see that before the year 1956.
    The agreement of self-rule and self-determination had been signed in12 February 1953, and the constitution of the self-rule became the fourth annex after amendment, based on Westminster democracy without the availability of the ingredients for success. The agreement stipulated elections and a transitional period of not more than three years should be held at the end of it the Sudanese decide their fate, either the union with Egypt in a way or another or full independence. The Sudanese people and parties were delighted to sign the agreement .
     The implementation of the agreement began immediately upon its signing in 12 February 1953. Article V11 of the convention provides for the establishment of an electoral commission whose task is to prepare and supervise the elections to ensure their impartiality in a tense atmosphere in which the result of the elections represents utmost importance to the Sudanese political parties and to the two countries of Condominium rule. Although the Egyptian government followed a practical approach to solving the Sudan issue, did not abandon the aspirations of Egypt to achieve a kind of union with the Sudan .
     The Union National Party won a simple majority to control parliament, and the Umma party attributed this to intense Egyptian publicity , the extended co-operation between the Umma party and the British administration was one of the most important factors of the failure to gain popular support. It was the decisive factor for the Union National   Party’s victory its alliance with the Khatmia sect whose leader feared the ambitions of Sayed Abdulrahman. Anyway, the alliance between the Khatmia sect and the UNP was a short term, as conflicts surfaced during the transitional period and developed to establish the Republican Independent Party in early 1955 and the meeting of Ali Almirgani and Abdulrahman Almahdi after a long break, that meeting was described by Mohammed Ahmed Mahjoob as the greatest disaster in the history of Sudanese politics .

The transitional period:

     Implementing elections and announcing their outcome paved the way for another step; that was the transitional period to which was specified-what was called in the constitution- the designated day. Article 9 of the constitution in mentioned that the designated day is the day in which the transitional period begins to form the institutions of self-government; i.e. council of ministers, council of representatives and council of senate . The transitional period cared for implementing the convention more than paying attention to establish economic and social programs, as the ruling party raised a logo “ Liberation no reconstruction”. The Communist Party rejected this slogan and displayed the logo” no liberation without reconstruction”, considering the political independence alone is not enough, as it must be complemented by cultural and economic independence .
     The Sudanization committee stipulated in article VIII of the self-rule and self-determination convention started its work in March 1954. In fact, the ambiguity of the article concerning Sudanization which granted the committee a mandate to Sudanize any job  prejudiced to the neutral atmosphere required for self-determinatifrom  has been exploited by the committee which was controlled by union elements in Sudanizing a lot of jobs, it was clear the committee wanted to exclude all Britons from Sudan .
    Sudanization of jobs was not enough to configure the free neutral atmosphere in the Sudan. As the convention granted the Sudanese the freedom to choose full independence or union with Egypt, it was natural that any of the two countries of Condominium–rule seeking one way or another to influence the decision of the Sudanese. Britain knew that the Sudanese choice of independence would serve its interests more than their choice to unify with Egypt in some form. So, it worked to make the Sudanese choose full independence. The British campaign in this course was characterized by prudence and caution, while Egypt benefited from being near the Sudan to support an active and open campaign calling unity . The overwhelming victory of the Union National Party in the parliamentary elections increased the Egyptian propaganda in the Sudan, as the elections was the first round for the Egyptian government, the second round was still then ahead to push the Sudanese to choose the union with Egypt.

Towards independence:

     Several factors combined to breach the provisions on self-determination in the agreement and urgency to announce independence. One factor was the Egyptian propaganda which explained that the stance of the new leaders in Egypt was tactical, although they took the adventure and agreed on the choice of the Sudanese between the full independence and the union with Egypt, but they fully failed in configuring the free atmosphere which was a necessary condition for self-determination and shared greatly in breaching the provisions of the agreement.
     As the Sudanization on the way to be implemented, the Egyptian propaganda in the Sudan reached its peak. The announcement of the new appointments to the vacant jobs in October 1954 coincided with a declared dissension inside the ranks of the Union National Party about the future relation with Egypt. The roots of dispute were already there, as the party was basically a merger of a group of union claiming parties all of which have their own point of view about the union issue. The Khatmia sect who represented the main popular support to the Union National Party has had no desire to unite with Egypt despite its keenness to keep good relation with it. The leader of Khatmia sect Ali Almirgani expressed his point of view about future relation with Egypt since early era of the Condominium and the  rule . Besides, the relation between the Khatmia sect and the Ashiga’a  was a mutual benefit relationship, as the Khatmia exploited the Ashiga’a organizational capacity and its importance for the electoral battle, the Ashiga’a  exploited the Khatmia sect bring the popular support . The extensive Egyptian propaganda during 1954 represented another factor to the emergence of this dispute.
     Other factor that also pushed towards full independence was the events of the first of March 1954 and the formation of the independent front. The Umma party took the opportunity to celebrate the opening of the parliament in the first of March 1954 to express this feeling to the Egyptian president Mohammed Najeeb who was invited to attend that occasion.. taking general Najeeb secretly from the airport to the republican palace provoked the masses of the Ansar sect. the result was a bloody clash between the Ansar and the policemen. The events of the first of March, the extensive Egyptian propaganda and the believe of the Sudanese people of the choice of  full independence resulted in forming an independence front in January 1955 included Umma party, the Anti-colonialism front and Republican Independence Party- which was formed in 1954 after some Khatmia elements left the UNP- the republican and the socialist republican parties .
     The rise of the independence front encouraged the Prime Minister Ismail Al Azhary to issue in the first of May 1955 his famous statement that Sudan is an independent republic full sovereignty. It became clear that the announcement has been a battle; every side wanted to have a head start in announcing it. Azhary was the first to announce it as being the chief of the Union National Party, the ruling party. Generally, there was urgency to announce independence since the beginning of the year. The competition started as who was to be the first to announce independence. The prime minister wanted to be the first to announce the independence, he toured the different directorates of Sudan in early 1955 claiming independence .

Declaration of independence of Sudan:

     Despite the statements that came from the Governor General and from the prime minister of the transitional government that their duty was to implement the agreement in letter and spirit, the events happened in the transitional period was pointing at the necessity of narrowing the constitutional arrangements included in the agreement of self-determination. Sudanese since the beginning of 1955 were eager to declare independence and showed obvious desire to breach the convention. Article 12 in the convention stated the constituent society shall be entrusted with determining the future of the Sudan.
     The prime minister announced in a previous session of the 19 December 1955 historical session where the parliament agreed unanimously on declaring independence, that his government would propose a declaration of independence. There was need to secure other issues to be in line with the decision of narrowing provisions of the agreement concerning self-determination and announce that from inside the parliament. Most important threats was south of Sudan, as the southerners were always claiming delay of self-determination. The southern point of view denied the declaration of independence as there was a promise to consider a federal union. The resolution of declaration of independence was not welcomed by southerners as the talk about it began.
     It was anticipated that the Sudanese government would give much care to the south issue according to the prevailing tension besides it was a major obstacle during Egyptian-Britain negotiations about Sudan. It has generated bitterness among educated elite in the south to distance it and isolate it from the talks of the Sudanese parties in Cairo. It is worth mentioning that the northern parties when composed didn’t work to attract southerners to its membership, they did that lately when they needed voters from south of Sudan in the election battle. Again it was expected increasing unrest due to the announcement of the government filing jobs which were sudanized where no southerners were appointed in higher jobs, despite the promise given by the Union National Party during the battle of elections to give southerners priority in filling vacant jobs in the south and compete on that in the north . Anyway, the result was the rebellion of the equatorial forces in August 1955 after two days only of the authorization by the parliament of the suggestion in 19 December; the elected constituent assembly to prepare and authorize permanent constitution of Sudan should give a sufficient consideration to the demand of the southerners of a rise of federal union between the three southern directorates and north of Sudan within the scope of the unity of the country . Another approved proposal of a rise of an elected constituent assembly to establish and approve the permanent constitution and a law of elections for the coming parliament. That was the statement of article twelve of the agreement which assigned two missions for the constituent assembly; the first duty was to determine the fate of the Sudan as an indivisible unity, the second duty was to establish a constitution for Sudan resembles the decision which would be taken in this aspect and authorizing a law to elect a permanent Sudanese parliament. To solve the issue of the constitution, the constitution of the self-rule was temporarily endorsed after minor amendments were introduced.
The question of independence was finally settled in 19 December 1955 when the Sudanese parliament unanimously decided: “We, the members of house of representatives in the parliament collectively announce in the name of Sudanese people that the Sudan has become an independent country with full sovereignty, and we hope your Excellency (Governor General) to ask the two Condominium rule states to acknowledge this announcement immediately” . The Egyptian government was very realistic in its formal acceptance of this resolution, which was welcomed by the British government.


     The above showed that Britain was the controlling state throughout the term of the Condominium rule, the Condominium rule and the British administration policy resulted in the division of the national movement into union parties and independent sections.
     The self-rule agreement with its attached constitution that stated termination of the Condominium rule after a transitional maximum three years period, wasn’t a step forward in the way to build a united Sudan, as it was full of gaps that had a lion’s share in escalating Sudan’s problems in post-independence stage. Despite the Sudanism factor was the main factor to resolve the dispute, the union of the union parties represented a stage only to implement self-rule and self-determination. Also, the transitional period was characterized by concentration on what the fate of Sudan would be, instead of being a training  period on self-rule and considering the post-independence urgent programs and solving problems left by Condominium governance; by setting development programs. As the narrowing of the self-determination measures stipulated in the convention and the urgency of the declaration of independence had its disadvantages represented in not preparing a permanent constitution for the country, the mission stipulated in article 10 & 12 of the convention of self-rule and self-determination stated election of a constituent assembly one of its duties was to prepare a permanent constitution for the Sudan to match the fate of Sudan approved by elected constituent assembly. The constitution stayed a temporary in 1956, and adopted a temporary once again after October 1964 revolution. Also, the split of the national movement in mid forties of the last century was a beginning of bitter conflicts controlled by the leaders of the sects, continued immediately after independence when the two leaders of the sects united to topple the government of the Union National Party and established the People’s Democratic Party who shared the Umma party in a heterogeneous coalition. The southerners were attracted in a hurry to gain their consent on independence declaration with a promise to federalism not cared about or executed after independence, and was a beginning of northern-southern conflict developed into civil war that eventually lead to the secession of southern Sudan.    

Sources and references

Unpublished documents:
-The statement by the chief of the republican party in the general meeting of the party, 30 November 1951, national documents house, (Khartoum) Sudanese parties no.2/1/1.
-Robertson  to  Mayall,  26.1.1951,  SAD 522/13/38. Note  by  Robertson  on  Memorandum  to  Mr.  Eden,  7.10.1952.,   SAD, 523/4/75
-  Wingate to Cromer, 24.2.1915, The Wingate, The Wingate Papers, SAD, No. 194/2/157.
-  Report by S. LIoyd, Foreign Minister of State  on his Visit to the Sudan from 21 March to 27 March 1954, PRO FO371/102754.
Published document:
-    Deliberations of the 1st legislative society, 1948-1952, the weekly summary, first &second session, Sudan library, University of Khartoum.
Books, essays and university papers in Arabic  :
-    Ahmed Ibrahim Abu Shoak, national administration in Sudan, parliamentary elections in Sudan 1953-1968, historical-analytical comparison, Omdurman, Abdulkareem Mirgani cultural center.
-    Tag Elser Othman Babo, 69 anniversary of founding Sudanese Communist Party,
-    Haydar Ibrahim Ali, Sudanese democracy, concept, history, practice. Civilization for publishing, Cairo 2013.
-    Dawood Saga Mohammed Abdalla, history of educational developments in Sudan 1956-1970, master theses, University of Khartoum 2006.
-    Rashid Albarawe, group of political documents of Egypt & Sudan, Cairo 1952.
-    Suad Abdulazeez Ahmed, national education issues in Sudan1898-1956,  University of Khartoum house for publishing, 2002.
-    Abdulrahman Ali Taha, sudan for the Sudanese..greed, dispute, leap and jihad, documented by Fadwa A. A. Taha, University of Khartoum house for publishing 1992.
-    Fatima Babiker Mahmoud,the African woman between heritage and modernity, Cambridge house for publishing, Cambridge, United Kingdom 2002.
-    Fadwa A. A.Taha, Egypt and Sudan: military occupation, the refrence bookin the history of Arabic nation, sixth volume 2008, Arab organization for education, culture and science, Tunisea.
-    Fadwa Abdulrahman Ali Taha, professor of generations Abdulrahman Ali Taha between education, politics and Arbiji 1901-1969, University of Khartoum house for publishing, azza house for publishing 2004.
- ,how the Sudan gained his independence, historical study to 12  February 1953 Egyptian-British agreement about Sudan, second edition, Abdulkareem Mirgani cultural center, Omdurman 2007.
     -,the prelude to self-rule and self-determination”, in:Sudan independence sixty years of trial and errorr 1956-2016, ed. Haydar Ibrahim Ali, Sudanese studies center, Cairo 2016.
    -   Faisal Abdulrahman Ali Taha, Halayeb and Hinaish, essays in the general international law, first edition, Abdulkareem Mirgani cultural center 2000.
   -   F. L. Griffith, experiment in education: a play of trials to improve boys education in primary stages in the Sudan English-Egyptian Muslim 1934-1950.
   -   Mohammed Ahmed Mahjoob, democracy in the balance, second edition, Khartoum: University of Khartoum house for publishing, without date.
   -   Mohammed Saeed Algaddal, modern history of the Sudan 1820-1955, second edition, Abdulkareem Mirgani cultural center, Omdurman 2002.
   -   Mohammed Omar Basheer, education development in Sudan 1898-1956, translated by Henry Riyadh- Aljunaid Ali Omer.
   -   Abdalla Al Hasan Mohammed Sulieman, house of culture, Beirut 1970.
   -   Neimat Basheer Ibrahim, consultative assembly for the north of Sudan1944-1948, master theses, University of Khartoum 1992.
   -   Naser Alsayed, the history of politics and education in the Sudan,University of Khartoum house for publishing,second edition, 1990.
   -   Yonan Labib Riziq, sudan in the first era of the Condominium rule 1899-1924, Cairo 1976.
Books and essays in English :
- Afaf Abu  Hasabu,  Factional  Conflict in  the  Sudanese  Nationalist  Movement,  1918  -  1948,  Khartoum,  1984
-    Beshir, M.O., Educational Development in the Sudan, 1899 – 1956, Oxford 1969
- Tim Niblock,  Class  and  Power  In  Sudan :  The  Dynamic  of  Sudanese Politics  1898  -  1985, London 1987. 
- Fadwa Taha Sudanese protest under Anglo-Egyptian rule, International Encyclopedia of Revolution and Protest, ed. Immanuel Ness, Oxford: Blackwell Publishing ,(USA) vol. 7  2009
- Fadwa Taha, The Socialist Republican Party 1951 – 1954 ‘A Party without Ingredient’, Middle Eastern Studies, (Routledge) vol. 47, No. 4, 655-671,July 2011.
- Fadwa Abd al-Rahman Ali Taha. Sayyid Abd al-Rahman al-Mahdi: Kingship and its Implications on the History of the Sudanese Nationalist Movement. Conference Papers, University of Durham, 1 (1991) 
University Press, 1986 . Hassan Ahmed Ibrahim, The 1936 Anglo – Egyptian Treaty, Khartoum University Press, 1976. 
- Gabriel Warburg,The Sudan under Wingate: Administration in the Anglo-Egyptian Sudan 1899-1916, Taylor & Francis, Ltd, London 1971.
- M.O., Beshir,  Revolution  and  Nationalism  in  the  Sudan,  London, 1972 
- M. W. Daly, Empire on the Nile The Anglo-Egyptian Sudan 1898-1934, Cambridges-Imperial Sudan The Anglo - Egyptian Condominium 1934 - 56, Cambridge university Press, 1991. 
- P. M Holt & M W Daly, A History of the Sudan from the Coming of Islam to the Present Day, Fourth edition, Longman, London, 1988s


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