1960 – British and Italian parts of Somalia become independent, merge and form the United Republic of Somalia; Aden Abdullah Osman Daar elected president.
6/26/1960 Independence of Somaliland from Britain.
7/1/1960 Independence of Somalia and unification of the British and ex-Italian Somali protectorates. Formation of government with Abdirasheed Ali Shermarke as the Prime Minister and Aden Abdulle Osman as the provisional President. Mohamed Ibrahim Egal, Prime Minister of Somaliland, is appointed Minister of Defence.
H.E. Aden Abdullah Osman was born at Belet Weyne (Hiran Region). After receiving education at State Schools, he acquired administrative experience in Government oficies.
He subsequently devoted himself to his own business. In Febraury 1944, he joined the Somali Youth Club (subsequently called Somali Youth League), became a member of the party’s steering board and in 1946 was appointed Secreatry of the Belet Weyne section of the party.
In 1951 the Regional Council of Mudug designated him for the Territorial Council on which he served uninterruptedly (up to February 1956) as the representative of the S.Y.L.
In 1953 he was appointed Vice-President of the Territorial Council. In 1954 he became the President of the Somali Youth League and remained office untill 1956. Re-elected to the same position in May 1958, he occupied this post simultaneously with the post of the President of the Legislative Assembly until 1st July 1960.
In 1956, when the Territorial Council was replaced by Legislative Assembly, he was elected member of the National Assembly for Belet Weyne District at the general political elections, and in meantime the Legislative Assembly appointed him its President.
In the 1959 general political elections, he was again elected member of the National Assembly, which again appointed him Presedent. He maintained this post when the Legislative Assembly was converted into the Consituent Assembly.
In his capacity as President of the Constituent Assembly, on 1st July 1960, he proclaimed the Independence of the Somali Republic and following the unification of the northern and southern territories – former British Somaliland and Italian Somaliland. The National Assembly chose him as Provisional President of the Republic for period of 1 year, and in 1961 re-elected him to the same mandate for 6 years.
He devoted his interest to legal, social and economic studies. Besides Somali, he speaks Italian, English and Arabic.
According to the Constitution of the Republic, the out-going President enjoyed life-membership of the Somali National Assembly (Article 51, paragraph 4).
7/6/1961 Presidential election in which Aden Abdulle Osman wins as the first elected President of the Somali Republic. Abdirasheed Ali Sharmarke is again appointed Prime Min ister.
During the nine-year period of parliamentary democracy that followed Somali independence, freedom of expression was widely regarded as being derived from the traditional right of every man to be heard. The national ideal professed by Somalis was one of political and legal equality in which historical Somali values and acquired Western practices appeared to coincide. Politics was viewed as a realm not limited to one profession, clan, or class, but open to all male members of society. The role of women, however, was more limited. Women had voted in Italian Somaliland since the municipal elections in 1958. In May 1963, by an assembly margin of 52 to 42, suffrage was extended to women in former British Somaliland as well. Politics was at once the Somalis’ most practiced art and favorite sport. The most desired possession of most nomads was a radio, which was used to keep informed on political news. The level of political participation often surpassed that in many Western democracies.
12/1961 Failed coup d’état attempt by young army officers led by Hassan Abdulleh Walanwal (Hassan Kaid) from the former British Somaliland. Their intention was to declare a separate state; the coup was repressed by Somaliland troops.
Problems of National Integration
Although unified as a single nation at independence, the south and the north were, from an institutional perspective, two separate countries. Italy and Britain had left the two with separate administrative, legal, and education systems in which affairs were conducted according to different procedures and in different languages. Police, taxes, and the exchange rates of their respective currencies also differed. Their educated elites had divergent interests, and economic contacts between the two regions were virtually nonexistent. In 1960 the UN created the Consultative Commission for Integration, an international board headed by UN official Paolo Contini, to guide the gradual merger of the new country’s legal systems and institutions and to reconcile the differences between them. (In 1964 the Consultative Commission for Legislation succeeded this body. Composed of Somalis, it took up its predecessor’s work under the chairmanship of Mariano.) But many southerners believed that, because of experience gained under the Italian trusteeship, theirs was the better prepared of the two regions for self-government. Northern political, administrative, and commercial elites were reluctant to recognize that they now had to deal with Mogadishu.
At independence, the northern region had two functioning political parties: the SNL, representing the Isaaq clan-family that constituted a numerical majority there; and the USP, supported largely by the Dir and the Daarood. In a unified Somalia, however, the Isaaq were a small minority, whereas the northern Daarood joined members of their clan-family from the south in the SYL. The Dir, having few kinsmen in the south, were pulled on the one hand by traditional ties to the Hawiye and on the other hand by common regional sympathies to the Isaaq. The southern opposition party, the GSL, pro-Arab and militantly panSomali , attracted the support of the SNL and the USP against the SYL, which had adopted a moderate stand before independence.
Northern misgivings about being too tightly harnessed to the south were demonstrated by the voting pattern in the June 1961 referendum on the constitution, which was in effect Somalia’s first national election. Although the draft was overwhelmingly approved in the south, it was supported by less than 50 percent of the northern electorate.
Dissatisfaction at the distribution of power among the clanfamilies and between the two regions boiled over in December 1961, when a group of British-trained junior army officers in the north rebelled in reaction to the posting of higher ranking southern officers (who had been trained by the Italians for police duties) to command their units. The ringleaders urged a separation of north and south. Northern noncommissioned officers arrested the rebels, but discontent in the north persisted.
In early 1962, GSL leader Husseen, seeking in part to exploit northern dissatisfaction, attempted to form an amalgamated party, known as the Somali Democratic Union (SDU). It enrolled northern elements, some of which were displeased with the northern SNL representatives in the coalition government. Husseen’s attempt failed. In May 1962, however, Igaal and another northern SNL minister resigned from the cabinet and took many SNL followers with them into a new party, the Somali National Congress (SNC), which won widespread northern support. The new party also gained support in the south when it was joined by an SYL faction composed predominantly of Hawiye. This move gave the country three truly national political parties and further served to blur north-south differences.
3/12/1963 Relations with Britain are severed due to disputes over the Somali-inhabited Northern Frontier District in Kenya. In November, first military agreement with the Soviet Union.
Despite the difficulties encountered in integrating north and south, the most important political issue in postindependence Somali politics was the unification of all areas populated by Somalis into one country–a concept identified as pan-Somalism, or Greater Somalia. Politicians assumed that this issue dominated popular opinion and that any government would fall if it did not demonstrate a militant attitude toward neighboring countries occupying Somali territory.
Preoccupation with Greater Somalia shaped the character of the country’s newly formed institutions and led to the build-up of the Somali military and ultimately to the war with Ethiopia and fighting in the NFD in Kenya. By law the exact size of the National Assembly was not established in order to facilitate the inclusion of representatives of the contested areas after unification. The national flag featured a five-pointed star whose points represented those areas claimed as part of the Somali nation–the former Italian and British territories, the Ogaden, Djibouti, and the NFD. Moreover, the preamble to the constitution approved in 1961 included the statement, “The Somali Republic promotes by legal and peaceful means, the union of the territories.” The constitution also provided that all ethnic Somalis, no matter where they resided, were citizens of the republic. The Somalis did not claim sovereignty over adjacent territories, but rather demanded that Somalis living in them be granted the right to self-determination. Somali leaders asserted that they would be satisfied only when their fellow Somalis outside the republic had the opportunity to decide for themselves what their status would be.
At the 1961 London talks on the future of Kenya, Somali representatives from the NFD demanded that Britain arrange for the NFD’s separation before Kenya was granted independence. The British government appointed a commission to ascertain popular opinion in the NFD on the question. Its investigation indicated that separation from Kenya was almost unanimously supported by the Somalis and their fellow nomadic pastoralists, the Oromo. These two peoples, it was noted, represented a majority of the NFD’s population.
Despite Somali diplomatic activity, the colonial government in Kenya did not act on the commission’s findings. British officials believed that the federal format then proposed in the Kenyan constitution would provide a solution through the degree of autonomy it allowed the predominantly Somali region within the federal system. This solution did not diminish Somali demands for unification, however, and the modicum of federalism disappeared after Kenya’s government opted for a centralized constitution in 1964.
The denial of Somali claims led to growing hostility between the Kenyan government and Somalis in the NFD. Adapting easily to life as shiftas, or bandits, the Somalis conducted a guerrilla campaign against the police and army for more than four years between 1960 and 1964. The Somali government officially denied Kenya’s charges that the guerrillas were trained in Somalia, equipped there with Soviet arms, and directed from Mogadishu. But it could not deny that the Voice of Somalia radio influenced the level of guerrilla activity by means of its broadcasts beamed into Kenya.
Somalia refused to acknowledge in particular the validity of the Anglo-Ethiopian Treaty of 1954 recognizing Ethiopia’s claim to the Haud or, in general, the relevance of treaties defining Somali-Ethiopian borders. Somalia’s position was based on three points: first, that the treaties disregarded agreements made with the clans that had put them under British protection; second, that the Somalis were not consulted on the terms of the treaties and in fact had not been informed of their existence; and third, that such treaties violated the self-determination principle.
Incidents began to occur in the Haud within six months after Somali independence. At first the incidents were confined to minor clashes between Ethiopian police and armed parties of Somali nomads, usually resulting from traditional provocations such as smuggling, livestock rustling, and tax collecting, rather than irredentist agitation. Their actual causes aside, these incidents tended to be viewed in Somalia as expressions of Somali nationalism. Hostilities grew steadily, eventually involving small-scale actions between Somali and Ethiopian armed forces along the border. In February 1964, armed conflict erupted along the Somali-Ethiopian frontier, and Ethiopian aircraft raided targets in Somalia. Hostilities ended in April through the mediation of Sudan, acting under the auspices of the Organization of African Unity (OAU). Under the terms of the cease-fire, a joint commission was established to examine the causes of frontier incidents, and a demilitarized zone ten to fifteen kilometers wide was established on either side of the border. At least temporarily, further military confrontations were prevented.
Ethiopia and Kenya concluded a mutual defense pact in 1964 in response to what both countries perceived as a continuing threat from Somalia. This pact was renewed in 1980 and again on August 28, 1987, calling for the coordination of the armed forces of both states in the event of an attack by Somalia. Most OAU members were alienated by Somali irredentism and feared that if Somalia were successful in detaching the Somali-populated portions of Kenya and Ethiopia, the example might inspire their own restive minorities divided by frontiers imposed during the colonial period. In addition, in making its irredentist claims, the Somalis had challenged two of Africa’s leading elder statesmen, President Jomo Kenyatta of Kenya and Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia.
1963 – Border dispute with Kenya; diplomatic relations with Britain broken until 1968.
The Ajuran of Kenya
The Ajuran belong to a cluster of peoples known as the Somali, who are scattered across northeastern Africa and the Middle East. The Ajuran are one of the six Somali tribes living in the northeastern portion of Africa. This region, which is commonly referred to as the “Horn of Africa,” includes Somalia, Djibouti, and Kenya. The Ajuran are concentrated in Kenya’s Northeastern province, where they make up almost the entire population.
The Ajuran are semi-nomadic shepherds. The members of a clan are very loyal to each other, spreading out to ensure that there is enough land and water for all of their herds. The nomads look down upon people who work with their hands, and the craftsmen among them are considered a part of the lower class. Many of the Ajuran are bilingual, speaking both their native language (Garreh-Ajuran) and Somali; some also speak Swahili. Only about two percent of the Garreh-Ajuran speakers are literate.
What are their beliefs?
The Somali tribes were converted to Islam in the 1400’s. Today, the Ajuran are virtually all Shafiite Muslims. They are very orthodox in their religious practices. Some of them even believe that they descended from Arab Muslims. However, linguistic research shows this is not the case.
Although the Ajuran are staunch Muslims, few of them have a deep understanding of their faith. They are a very proud people who consider Christians to be inferior. Muslims consider Jesus to be a prophet, a teacher, and a good man, but not God’s son. They also believe that all men and animals will give account for their actions after they die. They believe that they will be judged by their good works and by their knowledge of the Koran. Muslims say prayers five times a day while facing Mecca.
1964 – Border dispute with Ethiopia erupts into hostilities.
Foreign Relations, 1960-69
Somalia’s government was in the hands of leaders who were favorably disposed toward the Western democracies, particularly Italy and Britain, in whose political traditions many of them had been educated. Nevertheless, as a reflection of its desire to demonstrate self-reliance and nonalignment, the Somali government established ties with the Soviet Union and China soon after independence.
The growth of Soviet influence in Somalia dated from 1962, when Moscow agreed to provide loans to finance the training and equipping of the armed forces. By the late 1960s, about 300 Soviet military personnel were serving as advisers to the Somali forces, whose inventories had been stocked almost entirely with equipment of East European manufacture (see Foreign Military Assistance , ch. 5). During the same period, about 500 Somalis received military training in the Soviet Union. As a result of their contact with Soviet personnel, some Somali military officers developed a Marxist perspective on important issues that contrasted with the democratic outlook of most of the country’s civilian leaders.
The Soviet Union also provided nonmilitary assistance, including technical training scholarships, printing presses, broadcasting equipment for the government, and agricultural and industrial development aid. By 1969 considerable nonmilitary assistance had also been provided by China. Such projects included the construction of hospitals and factories and in the 1970s of the major north-south road.
Somalia’s relations with Italy after independence remained good, and Italian influence continued in the modernized sectors of social and cultural affairs. Although their number had dropped to about 3,000 by 1965, the Italians residing in Somalia still dominated many of the country’s economic activities. Italian economic assistance during the 1960s totaled more than a quarter of all the nonmilitary foreign aid received, and Italy was an important market for Somali goods, particularly food crops produced on the large, Italian-owned commercial farms in the river valleys. Italy’s sponsorship enabled Somalia to become an associate of the European Economic Community (EEC), which formed another source of economic and technical aid and assured preferential status for Somali exports in West European markets.
In contrast to the cordial relations maintained with Italy, Somalia severed diplomatic ties to Britain in 1962 to protest British support of Kenya’s position on the NFD. Somalia’s relations with France were likewise strained because of opposition to the French presence in the Territory of the Afars and Issas (formerly French Somaliland, later independent Djibouti). Meanwhile, the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) provided Somalia with a moderate amount of aid, most notably sharing with Italy and the United States the task of training the police force. The Somali government purposely sought a variety of foreign sponsors to instruct its security forces, and Western-trained police were seen as counterbalancing the Soviet-trained military. Likewise, the division of training missions was believed to reduce dependence on either the West or the communist countries to meet Somali security needs (see Somalia Police Force , ch. 5).
Throughout the 1960s, the United States supplied nonmilitary aid to Somalia, a large proportion of it in the form of grants. But the image of the United States in the eyes of most Somalis was influenced more by its support for Ethiopia than by any assistance to Somalia. The large scale of United States military aid to Ethiopia was particularly resented. Although aid to that country had begun long before the Somali-Ethiopian conflict and was based on other considerations, the Somalis’ attitude remained unchanged as long as the United States continued to train and equip a hostile neighbor.
4/1964 Abdirizak Haji Husein is appointed Primer Minister after the March legislative elections.
The Husseen Government
Countrywide municipal elections, in which the SYL won 74 percent of the seats, occurred in November 1963. These were followed in March 1964 by the country’s first postindependence national elections. Again the SYL triumphed, winning 69 out of l23 parliamentary seats. The party’s true margin of victory was even greater, as the fifty-four seats won by the opposition were divided among a number of small parties.
After the 1964 National Assembly election in March, a crisis occurred that left Somalia without a government until the beginning of September. President Usmaan, who was empowered to propose the candidate for prime minister after an election or the fall of a government, chose Abdirizaaq Haaji Husseen as his nominee instead of the incumbent, Shermaarke, who had the endorsement of the SYL party leadership. Shermaarke had been prime minister for the four previous years, and Usmaan decided that new leadership might be able to introduce fresh ideas for solving national problems.
In drawing up a Council of Ministers for presentation to the National Assembly, the nominee for prime minister chose candidates on the basis of ability and without regard to place of origin. But Husseen’s choices strained intraparty relations and broke the unwritten rules that there be clan and regional balance. For instance, only two members of Shermaarke’s cabinet were to be retained, and the number of posts in northern hands was to be increased from two to five.
The SYL’s governing Central Committee and its parliamentary groups became split. Husseen had been a party member since 1944 and had participated in the two previous Shermaarke cabinets. His primary appeal was to younger and more educated party members. Several political leaders who had been left out of the cabinet joined the supporters of Shermaarke to form an opposition group within the party. As a result, the Husseen faction sought support among non-SYL members of the National Assembly.
Although the disagreements primarily involved personal or group political ambitions, the debate leading to the initial vote of confidence centered on the issue of Greater Somalia. Both Usmaan and prime minister-designate Husseen wanted to give priority to the country’s internal economic and social problems. Although Husseen had supported militant pan-Somalism, he was portrayed as willing to accept the continued sovereignty of Ethiopia and Kenya over Somali areas.
The proposed cabinet failed to be affirmed by a margin of two votes. Seven National Assembly members, including Shermaarke, abstained, while forty-eight members of the SYL voted for Husseen and thirty-three opposed him. Despite the apparent split in the SYL, it continued to attract recruits from other parties. In the first three months after the election, seventeen members of the parliamentary opposition resigned from their parties to join the SYL.
Usmaan ignored the results of the vote and again nominated Husseen as prime minister. After intraparty negotiation, which included the reinstatement of four party officials expelled for voting against him, Husseen presented a second cabinet list to the National Assembly that included all but one of his earlier nominees. However, the proposed new cabinet contained three additional ministerial positions filled by men chosen to mollify opposition factions. The new cabinet was approved with the support of all but a handful of SYL National Assembly members. Husseen remained in office until the presidential elections of June 1967.
The 1967 presidential elections, conducted by a secret poll of National Assembly members, pitted former prime minister Shermaarke against Usmaan. Again the central issue was moderation versus militancy on the pan-Somali question. Usmaan, through Husseen, had stressed priority for internal development. Shermaarke, who had served as prime minister when pan-Somalism was at its height, was elected president of the republic.
6/1967 Abdirashid Ali Shirmarke is elected President and Mohamed Ibrahim Egal is appointed Prime Minister.
Abdirashid Ali Shermake:
H.E. Abdirashid Ali Shermake was born in 1919 at Haradere in the district of Obbia. After having attended Quranic schools, he completed his elementary education 1936.
From 1937 to 1943 he became a trader and later a Civil Servant in the then Italian Administration. At the same time, he brought his educational standard up to Intermediate level.
He joined the Somali Youth League (SYL) immediately after its foundation in 1943. He entered the British Administration Civil Service in 1944.
He completed his secondary education in 1950-53 while still Civil Servant, and got a scholarship to the University of Rome where he graduated in political science in 1958. One year later after returing from Italy, he was elected to the then Legislative Assembly from Gardo as SYL member in 1959. He thus terminated fifteen years in the Civil Service.
Immediately after Independence on July 1st 1960, he was nominated by President Aden Abdullah Osman as Prime Minister, a position he held until March 1964 when the first General Elections were held. He was re-elected to Parliament from his old constituency. On August 20, 1959 he had been among the first politicians who demanded independence before the targeted date of 31st December, 1960.
As Prime Minister, Abdirashid travelled abroad extensively in pursuit of a non-aligned and neutral foriegn policy. Although the ruling SYL Party recommended him to be re-nominated as Prime Minister by a large majority, President Aden Abdullah Osman invited Abdirazak Haji Hussein to form a cabinet in which Abdirashid was not member.
Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal:
Hon. Mohamed was born in Odweina on August 15, 1928. He completed his primary, intermediate, and secondary education in former British Somaliland and then went to Britain for further studies where he stayed from 1950-54.
On June 26, 1960, when the country gained independence, Egal became the Prime Minister of Somaliland.
After the Union and the formation of the Somali Republic, he was nominated Minister for Defence in the Cabinet of Abdirashid Ali Shermake. After one year, Egal was nominated Minister for Education in the same Government.
In October 1962 Egal led a delegation to London to negotiate the NFD problem with British leaders. His delegation persuaded and obtained from the British Government a referendum in the Northern Frontier District (NFD). In the same period, he led another delegation to Kenya to organize the referendum which found 83% in favour of joining with the Somali Republic.
In October 1966, he joined the Somali Youth League party. Finally, he became the third Prime Minister of Somali Republic in 1967.
The Igaal Government
The new president nominated as prime minister Mahammad Ibrahim Igaal, who raised cabinet membership from thirteen to fifteen members and included representatives of every major clanfamily , as well as some members of the rival SNC. In August 1967, the National Assembly confirmed his appointment without serious opposition. Although the new prime minister had supported Shermaarke in the presidential election, he was a northerner and had led a 1962 defection of the northern SNL assembly members from the government. He had also been closely involved in the founding of the SNC but, with many other northern members of that group, had rejoined the SYL after the 1964 elections.
A more important difference between Shermaarke and Igaal, other than their past affiliations, was the new prime minister’s moderate position on pan-Somali issues and his desire for improved relations with other African countries. In these areas, he was allied with the “modernists” in the government, parliament, and administration who favored redirecting the nation’s energies from confrontation with its neighbors to combating social and economic ills. Although many of his domestic policies seemed more in line with those of the previous administration, Igaal continued to hold the confidence of both Shermaarke and the National Assembly during the eighteen months preceding the March 1969 national elections.
Igaal’s policy of regional détente resulted in improved relations with Ethiopia and Kenya. The prime minister did not relinquish Somalia’s territorial claims, but he hoped to create an atmosphere in which the issue could be peacefully negotiated. In September 1968, Somalia and Ethiopia agreed to establish commercial air and telecommunication links. The termination of the state of emergency in the border regions, which had been declared by Ethiopia in February 1964, permitted the resumption of free access by Somali pastoralists to their traditional grazing lands and the reopening of the road across Ethiopian territory between Mogadishu and Hargeysa. With foreign affairs a less consuming issue, the government’s energy and the country’s meager resources could now be applied more effectively to the challenges of internal development. However, the relaxation of tensions had an unanticipated effect. The conflict with its neighbors had promoted Somalia’s internal political cohesion and solidified public opinion at all levels on at least one issue. As tension from that source subsided, old cleavages based on clan rivalries became more prominent.
The March 1969 elections were the first to combine voting for municipal and National Assembly posts. Sixty-four parties contested the elections. Only the SYL, however, presented candidates in every election district, in many cases without opposition. Eight other parties presented lists of candidates for national offices in most districts. Of the remaining fifty-five parties, only twenty-four gained representation in the assembly, but all of these were disbanded almost immediately when their fifty members joined the SYL.
Both the plethora of parties and the defection to the majority party were typical of Somali parliamentary elections. To register for elective office, a candidate merely needed either the support of 500 voters or the sponsorship of his clan, expressed through a vote of its traditional assembly. After registering, the office seeker then attempted to become the official candidate of a political party. Failing this, he would remain on the ballot as an individual contestant. Voting was by party list, which could make a candidate a one-person party. (This practice explained not only the proliferation of small parties but also the transient nature of party support.) Many candidates affiliated with a major party only long enough to use its symbol in the election campaign and, if elected, abandoned it for the winning side as soon as the National Assembly met. Thus, by the end of May 1969 the SYL parliamentary cohort had swelled from 73 to 109.
In addition, the eleven SNC members had formed a coalition with the SYL, which held 120 of the 123 seats in the National Assembly. A few of these 120 left the SYL after the composition of Igaal’s cabinet became clear and after the announcement of his program, both of which were bound to displease some who had joined only to be on the winning side. Offered a huge list of candidates, the almost 900,000 voters in 1969 took delight in defeating incumbents. Of the incumbent deputies, 77 out of 123 were not returned (including 8 out of 18 members of the previous cabinet), but these figures did not unequivocally demonstrate dissatisfaction with the government. Statistically, they were nearly identical with the results of the 1964 election, and, given the profusion of parties and the system of proportional representation, a clear sense of public opinion could not be obtained solely on the basis of the election results. The fact that a single party–the SYL–dominated the field implied neither stability nor solidarity. Anthropologist I.M. Lewis has noted that the SYL government was a very heterogeneous group with diverging personal and lineage interests.
Candidates who had lost seats in the assembly and those who had supported them were frustrated and angry. A number of charges were made of government election fraud, at least some firmly founded. Discontent was exacerbated when the Supreme Court, under its newly appointed president, declined to accept jurisdiction over election petitions, although it had accepted such jurisdiction on an earlier occasion.
Neither the president nor the prime minister seemed particularly concerned about official corruption and nepotism. Although these practices were conceivably normal in a society based on kinship, some were bitter over their prevalence in the National Assembly, where it seemed that deputies ignored their constituents in trading votes for personal gain.
Among those most dissatisfied with the government were intellectuals and members of the armed forces and police. (General Mahammad Abshir, the chief of police, had resigned just before the elections after refusing to permit police vehicles to transport SYL voters to the polls.) Of these dissatisfied groups, the most significant element was the military, which since 1961 had remained outside politics. It had done so partly because the government had not called upon it for support and partly because, unlike most other African armed forces, the Somali National Army had a genuine external mission in which it was supported by all Somalis–that of protecting the borders with Ethiopia and Kenya.
1967 – Abdi Rashid Ali Shermarke beats Aden Abdullah Osman Daar in elections for president.
Drought and war
1969 – Muhammad Siad Barre assumes power in coup after Shermarke is assassinated.
10/15/69 President Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke is assassinated by one of his bodyguards.
10/21/69 Coup d’état in Somalia. Major General Mahamed Siyad Barre takes over as Chairman of the Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC). A number of prominent leaders and potential political rivals to Barre are imprisoned.