third Mustafa Fahmi Cabinet (1)
be considered as the longest Cabinet in the history of Egypt.
It was rich in years, thirteen years, and rich in events such as the re-conquest
of the Sudan, the tragedy of Densheway, the resignation of
Lord Cromer and the birth of a very strong National Movement and National
the British Government has been against any military campaign to defeat
Mahdism and to restitute the Sudan to Egyptian Sovereignty.
That attitude could be explained by the British claim that their stay in
to protect the country and the Suez Canal against the Mahdist threat.
months after the formation of the Third Fahmi Cabinet, Intelligence
sources warned the British Government that France was planning a
Military Expedition, which would cross the Sahara Desert, conquer
Sudan (the ex Egyptian Province of Equatoria) and establish
a military and political link with the Ethiopian Empire.
no time, orders were issued to General Herbert Kitchener Pasha (2),
the (then) Sirdar of the Egyptian Army, to plan and carry
on the military re-conquest of the Sudan.
ascent of the Nile from Egypt was a long and slow business
that took Kitchener about two years to achieve. There was
to be no haste and no mistakes. Two Egyptian Brigades and
British, a total of eighteen thousands men participated in the
To make his army
‘s advance easy, the methodical
ordered the construction
of a railway to link Aswan
to Atbara, thus avoiding the great
loop of the Nile. In
April 1898 a Mahdist Army, led
by the Emir Mahmoud, one of its finest and most aggressive Generals,
attacked Kitchener‘s army but he stood no chance against the modern
artillery. The Egyptian and British troops stormed the pulverized Sudanese
barricades and no quarter was given to the enemy. Emir Mahmoud was
captured and a victory parade took place in the neighboring town of Berber.
the parade, Kitchener rode a white horse to take the salute.
At the head of the parade came the defeated General Mahmoud, a proud
and handsome young man in his early thirties. Chains were riveted
round his ankles, a halter was passed around his neck and his hands were
bound behind his back. In these bonds he was made sometime to walk,
sometimes to run and when he stumbled his guards drove him on. Nobody
respects a looser and the people of Berber jeered at the prisoner and pelted
him with rubbish!!
11, Kitchener and his army were in front of Omdurman where the
main Sudanese Army lead by the Khalifa was defeated and
was occupied. Having heard from some prisoners that French troops
had occupied the town of Fashoda, not far from the junction of the
Nile Rivers, Kitchener wasted no time and, at the head of a
strong Egyptian contingent, sped south and reached
Fashoda on September
18. There he discovered that the French Force, led by Captain
Jean-Baptiste Marchand, was well entrenched. He raised the Egyptian
Flag beside the French Flag and both he and Marchand waited patiently
for the British and French Government to settle the matter. It was
eventually settled with the French withdrawal.
is important to note that, prior to the military campaign, the Fahmi
Cabinet allocated the amount of half a million pounds to finance it which
arose the ire of the “Shoury Majlis” (Parliament) because the decision
was adopted without the “Majlis” authorization. The Cabinet
excuse was that the amount was deducted from that part of the Budget that
was supposed to repay the National Debt and which does not fall under the
jurisdiction of the
the defeat of Mahdism, Boutros Ghali Pasha, the Foreign Minister,
negotiated with the British Government the new status of the “liberated”
Sudan and, on behalf of the Fahmi Cabinet and with his agreement,
signed with the Brits what was known as the Anglo-Egyptian Condominium
the Sudan. According to that Agreement, the Governor General
of the Sudan should be British appointed by the Egyptian Government;
both countries would garrison troops over there and the Country Official
name would be the Anglo –Egyptian Sudan. Ghali Pasha,
on behalf of the Egyptian Government, and Lord Cromer, on behalf
of the British Government, signed the Agreement. The agreement
shocked the Egyptians and was met with great displeasure.
tense relationship between Khedive Abbas Helmi and Lord Cromer
intensified and the Khedive secretly encouraged the formation of
Nationalist Groups and particularly the National Party (Al Hezb
Al Watani) established and led by Mustafa Kamel Pasha.
Along with Mohammad Farid (Bey) and Ahmad Lutfi El Sayed (Pasha),
the National Party co-founders, he founded a daily newspaper, “Al Liwaa”,
which ran a daily campaign against the British occupation of Egypt.
But the national feelings intensified after the tragedy of Densheway
and its aftermath.
13, 1906, a group of British Officers went on a pigeons hunting trip
in and around the village of Densheway in the Menoufya Province.
Unlike the pigeons of Trafalgar Square, those of that village were
privately owned and, like poultry, served as aliments of choice to its
owners. An argument arose between the officers and the villagers,
shots were fired putting a house on fire and wounding a woman villager.
The enraged villagers attacked the hunters with sticks. The hunters
becoming hunted run away as fast as they could and, one of them died of
sunstroke. The British authorities arrested the whole adult male
population of Densheway and charged them with premeditated murder.
A Special Military Court was formed to judge the accused; many of them
were found guilty of murder. Four of them were condemned to
death and hanged and over fifty others were condemned to public
flogging in the presence of their families. Mustafa Kamel and
most of his countrymen were appalled by the injustice committed and a wave
of angry protests and demonstrations took place all over the Country and
even in some European Countries. To calm down the situation, the
British Government “hastened” the retirement of Lord Cromer
appointed Sir John Eldon Gorst (3)
to replace him as British Agent and
Consul General in Egypt.
Fahmi Cabinet intensified the appointments of foreigners in the different
Ministries and Administrations; because of that and because of its close
collaboration with Lord Cromer the population at large did not view
it with sympathy. And yet the Fahmi Administration should
be credited for achieving many useful reforms:
promulgated a law prohibiting the expropriation of private properties for
the use of public utilities without the approval of the owners; an adequate
compensation should be paid to the owners.
Cabinet approved the reduction of the secondary schools studies from
five years to three years. That step was adopted to cut the numbers
of students dropping out and to minimize their parents’ financial burden.
protect Egypt from the plague, that was spread in India and
could be spread by Indian pilgrims, the Cabinet confined the pilgrimage
to Mecca to those Egyptian pilgrims who could carry enough cash
to keep them afloat out of the Country for at least forty days.
The cheapest quarantine ever imagined!!
and Asyut were built and inaugurated.
port of Alexandria was modernized and new quays were built
to accommodate more ships thus increasing the Egyptian Foreign Trade.
avoid the frequent cuts in electrical currents, the Cabinet urged the power
companies to replace the above ground electrical cables by underground
Cabinet agreed to renew the contract of the telephone company for another
years on condition that the company would reduce the users fees to six
pounds a year.
lines were authorized and built in Cairo.
Cabinet accorded a concession for an oil company to start oil exploration
on condition that it would spend the amount of one hundred and twenty
thousands pounds in preliminary studies and diggings. The aim
of the Government was to achieve self-sufficiency in oil, which
was (then) imported from the United States and Tsarist Russia.
reward good behavior in jails, the Cabinet decided to reduce the jail terms
by twenty-five percent for the deserving prisoners. It also
decided to replace the jail terms for those who failed to pay their contraventions
by inviting them to work six hours a day, unpaid, for the Government
for each day of their sentence.
a Cabinet meeting presided by Khedive Abbas, it was decided to fire
the Governor of the Behera Province for forcing the citizens to
donate money to finance the festivities planned for the visit of the Khedive
Cabinet increased the Budget of the Administration of Health. It
also decided to raise the starting salaries of its Doctors, from
pounds to ninety-six pounds a year
tolls imposed on crossing bridges were canceled to encourage the movement
of people and merchandise across the country. That decision also applied
to all boats crossing locks.
extra budget of five hundred pounds was voted for foundation
of a veterinary faculty with a yearly budget one thousand one hundred
and seventy three pounds.
Post Service was allowed to open savings accounts to its customers
with a yearly interest of two and a half percent on the deposits.
Cabinet allocated the amount of five thousands five hundred pounds for
the Ministry of Public Works to cover the celebration of the
Aswan Dam. An extra yearly amount of nineteen thousands pounds
was added to the budget of that same Ministry to face the maintenance expenses
of the newly built barrages.
15, 1902, the Khedive and the Cabinet inaugurated the Egyptian
Museum. The highest Egyptian decoration was given by the Khedive
to Mr. Maspero, the French Egyptologist and founding father of the
museum. An important street in Cairo was also named after
25, 1905, The Cabinet discussed the new 1906 Budget which revealed
an income of thirteen millions pounds with expenditures not exceeding
thirteen millions. It decided to use the half a million
surplus to reduce the customs duties on all the consumption goods from
eight percent to four percent. In that same Cabinet meeting it was
decided to raise the monthly starting salaries of Doctors and Lawyers from
eight pounds to twelve, hoping that the raise would encourage more and
more graduates to join the Government service.
-This page of reforms
cannot be closed without mentioning that, on October 28, 1906, the
Cabinet was unanimous in appointing Saad Zaghloul Bey, who was then
an Appeal Judge, to the Cabinet Post of Minister of Public Instruction.
November 11, 1908, Prime Minister Mustafa Fahmi Pasha presented
to the Khedive his resignation and that of his Cabinet, claiming
a deterioration of his health.
(To be continued)
Kamal K. Katba
Horatio Kitchener was born near Ballylongford, County Kerry, Ireland, in
1850. Educated at the Royal Military Academy he entered the Royal Engineers
in 1871. Kitchener served in Palestine (1874-78), Cyprus (1878-82) and
the Sudan (1883-85).
1898 as a result of his victory at Omdurman Kitchener was granted
the title Lord Kitchener.
the Boer War (1899-1902) Kitchener was chief of staff to Lord Frederick
Roberts and was responsible for developing strategies to deal with the
Boer guerrilla campaign. His decision to destroy Boer farms and to move
civilians into concentration camps resulted him being highly criticised
by politicians such as David Lloyd George and Charles Trevelyan.
the Boer War was brought to an end by the signing of the Treaty of Vereeninging,
Kitchener became commander-in-chief in India (1902-09) and military governor
of Egypt (1911-14).
the outbreak of the First World War, the Prime Minister, Herbert Asquith,
appointed Kitchener as Secretary of War. Kitchener, he first member of
the military to hold the post, was given the task of recruiting a large
army to fight Germany. With the help of a war poster that featured Kitchener
and the words: 'Join Your Country's Army', over 3,000,000 men volunteered
in the first two years of the war.
told Asquith that he expected the war to last at least three years with
millions of casualties. He argued that the British Army must concentrate
its efforts on the Western Front. However, after coming under considerable
pressure from Winston Churchill, he First Lord of the Admiralty, he did
agree to support the Gallipoli campaign in February 1915. By the time Kitchener
withdrew the troops from the the area in January, 1916, Allied casualties
totaled over 250,000 men.
Gallipoli disaster damaged Kitchener's reputation as a military strategist.
Kitchener also came under attack for a shortage of military supplies. Lord
Kitchener offered to resign but Herbert Asquith decided to keep him as
his Secretary of War.
the spring of 1916 Asquith decided to send Kitchener to Russia in an attempt
to rally the country in its fight against Germany. On 5th June 1916, Horatio
Kitchener was drowned when the HMS Hampshire on which he was traveling
to Russia, was struck a mine off the Orkneys.
SIR J. ELDON GORST (b. 1861), was financial adviser to the Egyptian government
from 1898 to 1904, when he became assistant under-secretary of state for
foreign affairs. In 1907 he succeeded Lord Cromer as British agent and
consul general in Egypt.