Chronological Events Leading up to Somalia’s Independence Day; 1st of July 1960
By Mohammed Abdullah Artan
The following chronological entry is solely for the purpose of reacquainting some of the key moments that accumulated to the independence of Somalia. My references and sources are mention at the end of this piece, and I request you spread it, share it, so our youth may know exactly what was done to win independence for our nation, from the clutches of colonial rulers.
The British forces have secured once again entirety of Northern Somalia (British Somaliland) and was ministered by the British forces till 1948.
The Ethiopians for the first time have levied tax on the Somali cities of Harar and Jigjiga. It’s leaders and those that lived there pleaded with British administration not to transfer control to Ethiopians, as was claimed by Emperor.
23rd of September 1948:
The British administration has officially given Western Somalia to the Ethiopians. Immediately after, there was an uproar and civil unrest which took the life’s of 25 Somalis. At this moment the British still controlled and administered the Hawd and Reserved Arrea.
SYL branch was opened in Northern Somalia with the sole aim of;
• Formation of Greater Somalia,
• Advancement of Education,
• Countering dividing of Somalia.
In this year there was a unification of two parties in the North. The older one was and pre-dated the 2nd WW, it was known as Somaliland National Society (SNS) and it united with the younger party which called Somali National League (SNL). Its mandate was to unite and bring together all the lands of the Somalis in to the fold of Greater Somalia. It seems this ambition was recorded in the North way before the South.
2nd February 1950:
Italy has been given by the UN the role to lead the Somalis into independence for what would be a 10 year plan.
1st of April 1950:
The Italians have officially taken over from the British forces the administration of South Somalia.
25th of March 1950:
The Italian Under Secretary of Minister of Foreign Affairs Giuseppe Brusasca with group of delegates visited Mogadishu to take stock of progress. Amongst those whom he met was Aadan Abdulle Usman, the then president of SYL. Aadan Abdulle harshly rebuked the need for Italy to be the one to usher Somalia into independent state, specially considering how Italy suppressed brutally, the ambitions of the Somali people in achieving self governance for decades. This display of fierce nationalism was the start of what would become the marginalisation process of SYL and its gradual exclusion from the political participation of Somalia by the Italians, despite outlining clear vision of cooperation with SYL, as a representative of the Somali people.
Following arrests, harassments, and or alienation of all those who supported SYL, many civil unrest and attacks took place in major cities of Somalia such as Baydhabo, Gaalkacyo and Beledweeyne. In early August 1952, in Kismaayo three senior Police officers were killed as consequence of these unrest, also one Italian officer was injured. As a consequence mass arrest of SYL senior leaders was carried out, amongst them being Bashiir Qoslaaye.
25th of August 1952:
Due to the rising tensions and security concerns Italian administration has sent the following officers to Italy for training, to advance their roles in maintaining effective policing:
1- Mohammed Siyad Barre,
2- Hussein Kulmiye Afrah,
3- Mohammed Ibrahim Mohammed,
4- Mohammed Abshir Muuse,
5- Abdalle Ali Mohammed,
6- Daauud Abdulle Hersi,
7- Mohammed Ainaashe Guuleed,
8- Mohammed Bin Khamiis,
The Italian administration has chosen to send 13 individuals to partake political orientation training in Italy, they were:
01- Haji Umar Sheegow,
02- Haji Bashir Ismaciil
03- Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke
04- Dahir Haji Usman
05- Ali Shiddo Abdi
06- Ali Umar Sheegow
07- Nuur Ahmed Abdulle (Castelli)
08- Ahmed Adde Muunye
09- Usman Umar Sheegow
10- Hasan Mohammed Hasan
11- Abdi Sheekh Aadan
12- Mohammed Sheekh Gabyow
13- Aweeys Sheekh Mohammed
Those sent abroad for training have returned and as a consequence the aforementioned and the registered political parties have formed the core of what was known as ‘Consiglio Territoriale’ (Golaha Latashiga Dalka).
6th of September 1954:
Early morning on a Monday: Golaha Latashiga Dalka have convened its third sitting wherein the floor was opened for what would be the historical search of a unifying banner for the state of Somalia; Its Flag. Aadan Abdulle Usman has put a motion to the floor wherein he detailed the vision of sky blue flag with its white five pointed star in the middle. Exactly at 11 am the same morning this motion was unanimously accepted with cheers and applaud.
12th of October 1954:
On a Monday morning at 9am: The Somali flag has been raised for the first time, at the top of the House of assembly which was witnessed and saluted by 60 police officers, lead by Mohammed Ibrahim Mohammed (Liiqliiqato). The other two flags at display were the UN and the Italian flag. To celebrate and finalise the process, Abwaan Abdullaahi Qarshe sang what would be forever known in the annals of Somali history as the Somali National Anthem.
The British Administration having realised that they would lose control of Somalia made its final move to transfer to Ethiopia the Hawd and the Reserved Area in what was the grazing grounds of Northern Somalis.
First local election process took place which was overwhelmingly won by the SYL.
The SYL had drastically changed its political mandate which was antagonistic, anti-imperial and anti-Italian stance, to a more cooperative stance for the benefit of swift political independence.
Legislative counsel was elected wherein 60 members was chosen, of which 43 seats was won by SYL.
17 of April 1957:
The Egyptian council to the Somali administration, being one of the three councils (Egypt, Philippine and Colombia) by the name of Mohammed Kamaludin Saleh, who was fierce opponent of the Italian agenda and curtailed many of their endeavours, was assassinated in his office. He was killed at 13.30 in the afternoon on a Wednesday, the 17th of April, while fasting. His suspected killer (Mohammed Wiilow) was quickly apprehended but was somehow found dead in his cell the eve of independence day.
The Italians in a move to transfer the leadership position to the Somalis have replaced one of their own chief of police; Alfredo Arnera with Daauud Abdulle Hersi.
Late this year, the Secretary General of the UN, Dag Hammershoeld made a quick visit to Somalia. He was met with a demonstration organised by several political parties such as Great Somali League (GSL), Independent Constitutional Party (ICP), Unity for Somali Nation Party (USNP) who argued against the corruption and disorganised method that would give birth to the Somali nation. This demonstration was deemed illegal and the police tried to disperse the crowd, however this was not successful. One Somali female lost her life on that day as the police managed to gain the upper hand and dispersed the crowd successfully.
As a consequence of those incidents the offices of GSL were closed as they were held responsible for the unrest and they have also been dismantled. This did not sit well with them and as such their members and the Police force clashed which was followed by prolonged armed conflict that resulted many deaths and many more injured people. There was a general ban against demonstration after this.
National United Front, N.U.F party was formed this year with sole purpose of working on the return of Hawd and Reserved Area that was given to the Ethiopians by the British Administration. What’s noteworthy is that this party won 7 seats of the 13 seats. However due to some arising issues the votes had to be retaken and with this new round of election the NUF got only 1 seat!
29th of February 1959:
On this day the demonstration ban that has lasted for a year was lifted.
Many members of the opposition parties were released after they have been cleared. This however opened a new chapter of political disunity as those members sent envoys to the UN complaining about the process. They have also expressed that they wouldn’t be partaking in the election. However the UN did not act on their complaints and or threats and as such the opposition chose to boycott the process and to withdraw.
SYL won the elections with the following results;
• 83 seats for SYL with 237,134 votes,
• 5 seats for ICP, with 35, 768 votes,
25th of August 1959:
The Legislative assembly has demanded from the Italian administration a speedy announcement of Somalia’s independence, which was originally planned for 2nd of December 1960.
5th December 1959:
The UN assembly has convened its 14th meeting which was to accept the suggestion put forward by the Italian Administration under the United Nations Trusteeship dating 27th of November 1959, which was to bring forward the Declaration of Independence from 2nd December 1960 to the 1st of July 1960.
12th April 1960:
The Italian administration has received a request from the Somali governing body to setup a Defence Force. This was accepted and its first commander was named Daauud Abdulle Hersi.
16th till 25th April 1960:
There was a conference held wherein it was discussed the process of independence. All the stakeholders were present and it was agreed on:
• That The British protectorate of Northern Somalia unites with the South Somali under the Italian administration United Nations trusteeship on the 1st of July 1960.
• that all the three administration meet on the 1st of July.
• That the United Somalia should elect a president.
• That the parties in both sides form a governing body.
• That the capital be Mogadishu and the seat of the government as well.
• That the United Somalia consist of 8 states.
• That there should be a council formed that deals with issues that arise from the unification.
• A process of recruiting technocrats and skilful individuals that can facilitate a smooth unification.
• that the army should consist of both unifying Somali regions of North and South.
• An envoy should be sent to London on March to finalise transfer.
2nd till 12th of May 1960:
The Somali administration envoy partook a 10 day conference in London wherein it was concluded that the British protectorate would be giving North Somalia its independence on 26th of June after which it will unite with their southern brother on 1st of July.
This meeting was chaired by Macloed, which was participated by the judge Douglas Hall. On the somali administration the minsters were; Mohammed Haji Ibrahim Cigaal, Ahmed Haji Duale, Ali Garaad Jama, and Haji Ibrahim Nuur. The agreement was announced at the British Parliament and with it also another announcement was made short after, which was meant to reassure Ethiopia. Macmillen spoke and said ‘that the British would never entertain and support any claims of the Somalis of what’s now the French Somalia, The Ethiopian Somalia and the Kenyan Somalia.’
26th of June 1960:
In Hargeisa, an immense and cheerful celebrations were held that welcomed and ushered a new era for the Somalis and Greater Somalia. For the first time in its independence the Somali flag has been raised and the British colonial flag was lowered.
1st of July 1960:
In what was a celebratory four days in the north, the south followed suit with its celebration of independence which was partaken by more than 70 nation delegates. Many envoys were given platform to speak amongst them being the British and the Italian.
A new day was born and Somalia started its journey as a nation, free from the yokes of colonial powers.
These dates and their contents were gathered by me, from various sources amongst them being;
– Taariikhda Soomaaliya (M. Liiqliiqato),
– Waayihii Soomaliya (Cabdi Jamac Aw-Aden),
– The Scramble for the Horn of Africa (M. Osman).