MOGADISHU (SD) – Somalia is today commemorating the 78th anniversary of the Somali Youth League, the movement that led the country against colonization.
Founded on May 15, 1943, SYL had struggled for Somalia’s independence.
In his statement, Somali Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble extended a congratulatory message to the Somali people on the anniversary of the founding of SYL.
“78 years ago, 13 young Somalis founded SYL, which played a key role in the fight for our country’s independence,” the prime minister said.
Roble expressed his government’s commitment to prioritizing young people in developing and strengthening their participation in all areas of life, especially politics and leadership.
“I ask young Somalis, boys and girls, to play their part, to unite and work together in the process of rebuilding the nation,” he said.
At its foundation in 1943, the party had thirteen founding members with one of its first leaders being Abdulkhadir Sheikh Sakhawudeen. During its early struggle, SYL supported Greater Somalia.
British Somaliland remained a protectorate of Britain until June 26, 1960, when it became independent.
The former Italian Somaliland followed suit five days later. On July 1, 1960, the two territories united to form the Somali Republic, albeit within boundaries drawn up by Italy and Britain.
A government was formed by Abdullahi Issa Mohamud and Muhammad Haji Ibrahim Egal with Aden Abdullah Osman Daar as the first President of the Somali Republic, and Abdirashid Ali Shermarke as Prime Minister, later to become President.
On July 20, 1961 and through a popular referendum, the Somali people ratified a new constitution, which was first drafted in 1960.
In the first national elections after independence, held on 30 March 1964, the SYL won an absolute majority of 69 of the 123 parliamentary seats.
The remaining seats were divided among 11 parties. Five years from then, in general elections held in March 1969, the ruling SYL led by Mohammed Ibrahim Egal returned to power.
However, in the same year, then President of Somalia Abdirashid Ali Sharmarke was assassinated.
A military coup quickly ensued, with Siad Barre now assuming leadership. Barre’s Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) subsequently renamed the country the Somali Democratic Republic, arrested members of the former government, banned political parties, dissolved the parliament and the Supreme Court, and suspended the constitution.
Barre was ruling the country until 1990 when armed militias toppled his government, plunging the country into more than three decades of civil war, that claimed thousands of lives.
The military regime reportedly committed massacre which claimed lives of over thousands of people in 1980s in the then northern of Somalia, forcing northerners to declare Somaliland, self independence from greater Somalia in early 1990s but not internationally recognized.
However, it has succeeded in holding peaceful elections, grow the economy and rebuild local infrastructure.
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