The SYL interparty feud moved to the United Nations. Fear of a setback for the process of independence

In the last episode about the political crisis, which engulfed the Somali government in 1959, we briefly dealt with a dissident faction within the ruling party’s parliamentary group, SYL, which staged a revolt against the Prime Minister, who accused him, among other things. , to form the government on a strictly tribal basis. Only a few arguments are required to demonstrate that no Prime Minister of Somalia could survive if he failed to allocate portfolios in accordance with the strength of the various competing clan families represented in parliament.

While the SYL intra-party rivalry remained central to the struggle for political power after independence, further evidence of a deteriorating situation emerged with the publication of the anti-government manifesto, dated April 30, 1959, which was circulated by hand around Mogadiscio. It was signed by a Galcaio tribal chief, Hagi Sugulle Habsei, who demanded, among other things, new and free elections, a congress of traditional chiefs and religious leaders, greater religious influence in politics, and the adoption of Arabic as the country’s official language. The manifesto emphasized the rejection of any possible postponement of independence by the Somali. Delayed independence was first raised without credible evidence by Abdullahi Issa himself in his capacity as Lega envoy to the UN in 1953. Now that he was head of government, he had the duty to reject the existence of any plan designed to postpone independence. One does not have to be an expert on the subject to realize that a manifesto claiming the “discovery” of a Western conspiracy to delay Somali independence was characteristic of the Egyptian overt piece of propaganda published by Cairo radio.

Two rival delegates from the same political party confronted each other before the UN

When all attempts to solve the SYL inter-party problems failed to reach agreement in Mogadishu, the party’s quarrels eventually ended up in the UN. In fact, a defiant Abdirazak along with Mohamoud Ahmed Mohamed “Kitaaba Hor”, on behalf of the dissident, traveled to New York in July to challenge the Somali Government’s legitimacy vis-à-vis the Trusteeship Council. This potentially damaging move at the critical time (less than a year before independence) had shocked many people. Many feared that such a move could cast doubt on the country’s readiness for independence, and that was the last thing Somalis wanted to happen.

To offset the dissident’s maneuver, the government, in addition to 9 strong delegations already present in New York, immediately sent to the UN, two members of parliament, Ali Mohamed Hirave “Hagarrei” and Abdullahi Haji Mohamoud ‘Insania’ accompanied by a Police Officer, Lieutenant Colonel Daud Abdulla, to defend the government’s position. Aden Abdulla addressed his dissent to the dissident group and made the following statement: “It is a real shame (grande vergogna) for the Lega and also for Somalia that two delegations, both from the same party, are present in Ney York just to contradict each other.” , adding: “What you do is detrimental to Somalia’s interests, whose independence could be called into question if you continue to make magazines” (Diary of July 9, 1959).

Representatives of the traditional political opposition parties protested to the UN against the government. The leaders who appeared before the Trusteeship Council to protest against the Somali government and the Italian administration included Aboukar Hamoud ‘Soccoro’ (representing the Somali National Union Party), Sheikh Ahmed Mohamed ‘Yero’ (representing Hisbia Destur Mustaqil Somali) and Abdullahi Aboukar Sheikh Ahmed ‘Gacna-Dheere’, of the Greater Somali League Party (UN Doc. TC 1014th meeting of 16 July 1959).

The debate on the petition submitted by the dissident faction in the Lega created a heated exchange of views between Abdirazak and the Egyptian representative in the Trusteeship Council, who did not seem entirely impressed by the arguments in the petition. There was no inclination among the members of the Council to interfere in the internal affairs of Somalia’s policy, and no delegation made any attempt to embarrass the Lega government. Even the Soviet Union was mild in its criticism, which was carefully directed at the Italian administration and not at the Somali government. “The petitioners’ demands were therefore not taken up and they did not make much of an impression”, commented on the British delegation to the UN (TNA FO 371/138390 of 10 August 1959). When Abdirazak realized that his arguments would hardly cut much ice with the members of the Trusteeship Council, Abdirazak refused to be involved in any general accusation against the Somali government. Instead, he issued a face-saving statement on July 25 on behalf of “all Somali petitioners or otherwise present now”, saying that “all Somalis agreed on the pursuit of certain goals for Somalia’s future , which would have been achieved through harmonious cooperation between all sections of the population ”(TNA FO 371/138390 of 10 August 1959).

Meanwhile, critics of the new government did not pass up an opportunity to speak disparagingly of some cabinet ministers allegedly regarded by their tribal members as’ defectors and weak ‘: Salad Abdi, whose resignation was rejected by the prime minister a year earlier, was rewarded by a’ degradation ‘from Finance to Agriculture. Sheikh Mohamoud Malingur was an Ogadeni Darod as the government ‘pensioner’, while Mohamoud ‘Muro’ was considered an ‘opportunist’ and personal friend of the Prime Minister (TNA FO 371/138312 of 1 July 1959)

After long and arduous efforts, the Prime Minister finally presented his government’s program to the National Assembly, but after taking the precaution to ensure that the vote in the Assembly should take place by roll call rather than by secret ballot. A roll call is a voting process in which legislators are called by name and allowed to express their vote in public. By having a roll call, the Prime Minister will not only put pressure on those who have promised him their support, but also benefit from knowing who he can count on in the future. In fact, a group of deputies put forward a motion requesting that the vote of confidence be conducted by roll call. (Diary, July 10, 1959), a step that was to save the government from being defeated and humiliated by secret ballot. The proposal was approved by 57 votes and 20 against (Diary, 10 July 1959), With 67 votes in favor against 10 and 1 abstentions, the Folketing approved the government’s program on 1 August 1959, six months after the parliamentary elections in March.

M. TrunjiE-mail: [email protected]

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