SYL (Somali Youth League)June 19, 2007 at 6:31 am | Posted in SYL (Somali Youth League) | 1 Comment
Somali Youth League
The Somali Youth League (SYL) was the first political party of Somalia. It played a key role in Somalia’s road to independence during the 50’s and 60’s.
During the Second World War, Britain occupied the Italian Somaliland and administered the territory from 1941 to 1950. It was during this period (1943) that the Somali Youth League (SYL), was formed. SYL succeeded in uniting all Somali clans under its flag and led the country to independence. Faced with growing Italian political pressure, inimical to continued British tenure and to Somali aspirations for independence, the Somalis and the British came to see each other as allies. The situation prompted British colonial officials to encourage the Somalis to organize politically; the result was the first modern Somali political party, the Somali Youth Club (SYC), established in Mogadishu in 1943.
To empower the new party, the British allowed the better educated police and civil servants to join it. In 1947 it renamed itself the Somali Youth League (SYL) and began to open offices not only in the two British-run Somalilands but also in Ethiopia’s Ogaden and in the NFD of Kenya. The SYL’s stated objectives were to unify all Somali territories, including the NFD and the Ogaden; to create opportunities for universal modern education; to develop the Somali language by a standard national orthography; to safeguard Somali interests; and to oppose the restoration of Italian rule. SYL policy banned clannishness so that the thirteen founding members, although representing four of Somalia’s six major clans, refused to disclose their ethnic identities. Although the SYL enjoyed considerable popular support from northerners, the principal parties in British Somaliland were the Somali National League (SNL), mainly associated with the Isaaq clan-family, and the United Somali Party (USP), which had the support of the Dir (Gadabuursi and Issa) and Darod (Dulbahante and Warsangali) clan-families.
Although southern Somalia legally was an Italian colony, in 1945 the Potsdam Conference decided not to return to Italy the African territory it had seized during the war. In November 1949, the General Assembly voted to make Somalia a trust territory to be placed under Italian control for ten years (1950-1960). 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, was returned to power, but in the same year a military coup took place, putting Siad Barre in power and in October 1969, the Supreme Revolutionary Council (SRC) prohibited all political parties.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia