The slow agony of a regime and the 1969 military takeover in Somalia.
The 1969 political elections, the third and last elections in the country, were held in March of that year for 123 National Assembly seats. Rivalries between clans caused the fragmentation of political parties into smaller and smaller units. This explains why over 60 political parties contended in the elections. Whatever Somali voters may have wanted, it was axiomatic that the Lega party did not lose elections. So, gross irregularities in the 1969 election should come as no surprise. Rumours of a military coup were widely circulating, but the government seemed not showing sign of alarm. The opposition remained largely divided without a common programme, fragmented, as had always been the case, along tribal lines. The question that arose was whether a polls victory obtained by unethical means would enable the ruling elite to govern until the end of the legislature, set to end in 1974, or throw the country back into tribal enmities and chaos. The election fraud was only one of the fuses that could detonate an explosion at any moment. Discontent was exacerbated when the Supreme Court, rejected on procedural grounds, all petitions and complaints filed by political parties against decisions taken by local authorities.
It was in the field of foreign policy that Egal chiefly broke new ground. He did in fact appear to have good foreign policy advisors, but for domestic affairs he heavily relied on bad advisors who pushed him to make fatal mistakes which eventually brought his premature downfall in 1969. Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal could have gone down in history either as a leader who guided Somalia towards stability, or as the man who scotched its chances of better future. Sadly he displayed some of his southern brothers’ ugly traits. But, while the southern political classes were experts in electoral fraud and had been in that ‘business’ since 1954, Egal seemed to be a complete novice in domestic affairs, and as such, he handled the elections clumsily by just blindly following in the footsteps of his southern big brothers..
The Assassination of President Shermarke