The first was the issue of a proclamation announcing that the institution of slavery was not to be interfered with in any way; the second was an application that his old enemy, Zebehr Rahama, the great slave-dealer, should be sent up to govern the Soudan. At first sight Gordon's action was amazing; but when it is more carefully examined in the light of facts, it cannot be blamed.
No sooner was one trouble settled than he was off on another expedition, and this time his steps were directed towards Dara, the stronghold of the great prince of slave-dealers, Zebehr Rahama. En route he was nearly starved as well as poisoned by putrid water.
But as they increased in numbers, wealth, and confidence in themselves and their organisation, the Khedive began to see in them a possible danger to his own authority. This feeling was strengthened when the slavers, under the leadership of the since notorious Zebehr Rahama, the most ambitious and capable of them all, refused to pay their usual tribute.
Zebehr Rahama knew this, but he fell on leaving his boat at this isle, and so, though the Soudan people looked on him as a likely saviour, this omen shook their confidence in him. Zebehr will most probably be taken prisoner by the Mahdi, and will then take the command of the Mahdi's forces.
Some of the slave traders had become very rich, and one of them, Zebehr Rahama, now in captivity in Gibraltar, had become so powerful that even the Khedive dared not molest him.