Throughout the condominium period, the UK, the principal governing force in Sudan, treated Southern Sudan as a separate region that it believed would eventually integrate with British colonies to the south in East Africa. Africanism has different meanings for different groups in Sudan. For southern Sudanese, Africanism has racial, cultural and national connotations. The more that northern Sudanese assert their Arabism, the more southern Sudanese emphasize their Africanism. The military government began its rule with a 10-member Revolutionary Command Council (RCC) under Gaafar Nimeri. The RCC appointed a civilian to manage the cabinet, in an effort to dispel the appearance of a military dictatorship. Since independence, Sudan has experienced periods of vibrant political activity interspersed with military rule and the banning of political parties. Sudan had a reputation for having one of the most effective civil services in the British colonial empire and the Government of National Unity (GNU) civil service ranked high among its counterparts in Africa.