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Sudanese Communist Party

Sudanese Communist Party
Leader Muhammad Mukhtar Al-Khatib
Founded 1946
Headquarters Khartoum, Sudan
Ideology Communism
National affiliation National Consensus Forces
Colours Red
Politics of Sudan
Political parties

The Sudanese Communist Party (SCP) is a communist party in the Republic of Sudan. Founded in 1946, it was a major force in Sudanese politics (and one of the two most influential communist parties in the Arab world, with the Iraqi Communist Party) until 1971, when military ruler Gaafar al-Nimeiry launched a wave of repression against the party after a failed coup implicated the involvement of some Communist officers. Abdel Khaliq Mahjub, Joseph Garang, Alshafi Ahmed Elshikh, Babkir Elnour, Hashim Elatta (the best-known party leaders), were executed. The party remained officially dissolved, but some CPS politicians entered into the government.


Foundation and Growth

Individual communists influenced by the Egyptian Communist Party were active in the Sudan prior to World War Two, however the first formal communist organisation in the Sudan, and the front runner of the Sudanese Communist Party; the Sudan Movement for National Liberation, was founded in 1946. The party began as an offshoot of the Egyptian Communist Movement and during the 1940s and 50s became popular amongst students, helping the found the Students Congress in 1949.[1] The SCP originally largely worked through different front organisations, such as Democratic Front, founded in 1954, and contested elections through the Anti-Imperialist Front.[2]

The party joined with other groups opposed to the government of Ibrahim Abboud, and played a key role in the governments toppling in the 1964 October Revolution, joining the subsequent transitional government.[2]

The party contested elections in the 1960s, although came into conflict with the Umma Party and NUP led government. Nevertheless, the party went on to win 8 seats at the 1965 election, with Ahmad Sulayman being elected from a territorial constituency, and Abdel Khaliq Mahjub being elected as an independent. Another member of the party, Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim, was the first woman elected to the Sudanese parliament.[2]

The party suffered a split in late 1964/early 1965 in reaction to the Sino-Soviet split, with certain members either being expelled or voluntarily leaving to form the pro-Chinese Sudanese Communist Party – Revolutionary Leadership.

From 1965 to 1967 there was constitutional controversy as other parties tried to outlaw the SCP from partaking in parliamentary elections. Some members advocating the establishment of an ideologically broader Socialist Party of the Sudan, which survived from 1967 to 1969. Other members advocated operating underground.[2]

Nimeiry Government and Repression

On May 25, 1969 the Sudanese government was overthrow in a military coup led by Gaafar Nimeiry. The SCP gained influence with the new administration, and SCP policies, such as those pertaining to regional autonomy for the South were adopted by the government. Joseph Garang, an SCP member, was made the Government Minister of Southern Affairs. The SCP plan was open to the later adopted Addis Ababa Agreement, although Garang was executed in 1971 for his role in the SCP led 1971 Sudanese coup d'état.[2]

The failed 1971 coup had its roots in historic ideological differences within the party; between the Pro-Soviet faction, and the Nationalist faction. The nationalists, such as Ahmad Sulayman and Faruq Abu Issa, wished to cooperate with the new Sudanese government. The Pro-Soviet faction, led by Abdel Khaliq Mahjub, was less supportive, and Mahjub was arrested and exiled in 1970. In 1971 pro-Communist military officers tried unsuccessful to overthrow the Nimeiry led government. Following the failed coup Mahjub, other SCP leaders, and the dissident officers were executed, and the party organisation was stomped down on.[2]


In 1985 Abdel Rahman Swar al-Dahab launched a coup d'état, overthrowing Nimeiry. In this new climate the SCP, now led by Muhammad Ibrahim Nugud, resumed its former activities and took part in the 1986 election, winning 3 seats, and returning Fatima Ahmed Ibrahim to the National Assembly.[3]

Following the 1989 Sudanese coup d'état however the party was again repressed, with the party being banned and its leaders being arrested.[3]

Modern History

As of 2006, the SCP is led by Muhammad Ibrahim Nugud and plays only a marginal role. Nugud however claims the party enjoys support from a wide section of Sudanese society, including "workers, farmers, students, women's groups, minority groups, in the Nuba Mountains, in the South and in Darfur".[4] Human rights activist Suleman Hamid El Haj is the assistant secretary and spokesman for the party.[5][6]



During the Cold War the party developed two main wings; an Orthodox Marxist and Pro-Soviet wing led by Abdel Khaliq Mahjub, and a Nationalist wing emphasizing a more localized Sudanese interpretation of Marxism led by Ahmad Sulayman and Faruq Abu Issa.[2]

The party previously supported the policies and positions of the SPLM in the early 1990s.[3]

Modern day

The SCP advocates a return to democratic rule and opposed the secession of South Sudan. The freer political climate has allowed the party to be more active since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. Party leader Muhammad Ibrahim Nugud came out of two-decade hiding. Party members suffering during the decades of NIF rule had pleaded him to be more active but Nugud feared arrest. Nugud visited Juba, Southern Sudan, on 28 November 2008 for the first time in two decades at the invitation of Southern communists. The trip was aimed at “bolstering the activities of the SCP in southern Sudan”.[7] He was received by SPLM Deputy Secretary General, Dr. Ann Itto.[8]

The SCP and South African Communist Party recently jointly launched the African Left Network meeting in order to facilitate greater cooperation amongst African Communist parties.[9]

List of party leaders

Abdel Khaliq Mahjub
Muhammad Ibrahim Nugud
Muhammad Mukhtar Al-Khatib


  1. ^ Voll, John Obert; Fluehr-Lobban, Carolyn; Lobban, Richard (1992). Historical dictionary of the Sudan. Scarecrow Press. p. 203. ISBN 9780810825475. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g Voll, John Obert; Fluehr-Lobban, Carolyn; Lobban, Richard (1992). Historical dictionary of the Sudan. Scarecrow Press. p. 204. ISBN 9780810825475. 
  3. ^ a b c Voll, John Obert; Fluehr-Lobban, Carolyn; Lobban, Richard (1992). Historical dictionary of the Sudan. Scarecrow Press. p. 205. ISBN 9780810825475. 
  4. ^ Sudan Tribune Interview; June 20, 2007
  5. ^ LINKS-International Journal of Socialist Renewal: "Sudanese communists discuss prospects for peace"; January 18, 2007
  6. ^ AP: "Dozens of protesting journalists arrested in Sudan"; November 17, 2008
  7. ^ "Sudan communist party leader visits Juba next week"; November 8, 2008
  8. ^ "Nugud’s Visit to Juba Historic… Ann Itto." November 29, 2008.
  9. ^ "Meeting of the African Left Network"; August 17, 2008

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