Little known about the first party-based constitutional democracy in Africa

In the 1967 presidential election, Daar was defeated by Abdirashid Ali Shermarke, his former Prime Minister. His term as president ended on July 6, 1967. Daar accepted the loss graciously, making history as the first head of state in Africa to peacefully hand over power to a democratically elected successor.


On the left Aden Abdullah Osman Daar, the first Somalia President speaking on the United Nation, on the right the second Somalia President Abdirashid Ali sharmarke with the 35th American president John F. Kennedy


Daar joined the incipient Somali Youth League (SYL) political party in 1944, a nationalist organization that campaigned for an independent Somalia. Quickly rising through the ranks, he became the local secretary of the SYL's Beledweyne branch in 1946. A decade later, he became Chairman of the National Legislative Assembly, and would eventually lead the SYL itself two years afterwards.


By the time Somalia gained its independence in 1960, Daar had attained widespread prominence as a nationalist figure. In short order, he was elected the country's first President, a position he would assume from 1960 to 1967.

In the 1967 presidential election, Daar was defeated by Abdirashid Ali Shermarke, his former Prime Minister. His term as president ended on July 6, 1967. Daar accepted the loss graciously, making history as the first head of state in Africa to peacefully hand over power to a democratically elected successor.

Shermarke was assassinated two years later by one of his own bodyguards. The slaying led to an unopposed, bloodless coup d'état by the Somali Army on October 21, 1969, the day after Shermarke's funeral. Spearheading the putsch was Major General Muhammad Siad Barre, who at the time commanded the army.


In 1990, with the start of the civil war, Daar along with former Minister of Information Ismail Jim'ale Osoble, former Minister of Education Hassan Ali Mire, and about 100 other Somali politicians signed a manifesto expressing concern over the violence and advocating reconciliation. Daar was summarily arrested, and remained imprisoned until the ultimate collapse of Barre's regime the following year. Read more...

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