Ahmedkeyse Haji Dualeh Abdalla, an exceptionally gifted diplomat, and nationalist, died in Tucson, Arizona of the United States, Wednesday at age 94.
He was the last of stalwart, much-revered giants of Somaliland independence.
Ahmedkeyse is remembered for, not only his gigantic contribution to convincing Her Majesty’s government and the Somaliland Protectorate masters of granting early independence to Somaliland but, also, the visionary roles he had played in public positions he held both before and after independence on June 26, 1960.
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He served as a young assistant district commissioner in Las Anod from 1952 to 1954. During this period he fought against all odds to lend the British administration there a spirit and understanding to domestic needs and traditions which it grossly lacked in the person of his superior – the British district commissioner. This, predictably, ended in differences caused by their contrasting personalities and outlook. This, notably, came to light when the DC ordained impracticable regulations designed to subjugate local, nomadic populations to extremes of subservience that was alien to the Somalilander spirit as it contradicting the Protectorate set up of the British-Somaliland arrangement of administration. Ahmedkeyse could no longer countenance the gross abuse of power of the DC and he publicly caned the DC after which he fled to Harar, and later in Egypt, where he lived in exile for about four years. Las Anod still fondly remembers the spirited young Ahmedkeyse to this day.
After returned in 1958, he went headlong into giving better shape top the fledgling Somali National League (SNL) political party led by his long-time friend Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal. It was during this period leading to independence some two years along the road which he had, also, played a pivotal role in preparing the country for early independence.
The Somaliland Protectorate Constitutional Conference, London, May 1960 in which it was decided that 26 June be the day of Independence, and so signed on 12 May 1960. Somaliland Delegation: Mohamed Haji Ibrahim Egal, Ahmed Haji Dualeh, Ali Garad Jama andHaji Ibrahim Nur. From the Colonial Office: Ian Macleod, D. B. Hall, H. C. F. Wilks (Secretary)
Ahmedkeyse was elected an MP in February 1960 becoming a member of the very first 33 members of the Somaliland Legislative Council (parliament). The new state held on to its independence, recognized by 35 countries including permanent members of the UN Security Council, for 5 days before joining Somalia which proclaimed its independence on 1 July 1960 in an ill-fated, illegally forced merger which would end in disaster and recrimination some 30 years later.
Ahmedkeyse became one of the only 4 ministers of the first Somalia republic government. He fell out soon after with the President and the prime minister – both of them Southern Somalians – finding out they were only Somalis in color and language but still Italians in spirit and thinking to the detriment of long-colonized, brutalized, much-deprived Somali farmers in the south.
“Why did we fight off the colonizers if all haciendas and more productive farms were to remain in the hands of the Italians’ became a departing statement etched into history after tendering in his resignations as Minister of Agriculture.
In 1968, as Ambassador to Germany, he succeeded to convince that government to build the Technical Institute in Burao, perhaps, to repay the trust and confidence the constituents who elected him to parliament in Burao and Odweine put in him although he hailed from far off the coastal town of Heiss, Sanaag region.
Ahmedkeyse’s sister, Raqia Haji Dualeh, was a longtime member of the Somalia government in the 80s. His daughter, Khadra, became the Minister of Trade a year ago in Somalia, too. He was closely related to other prominent politicians and nationalists such as Michael Mariano, Mohamed Ali Farah, and Dubbe Ali Yareh – first two of whom were also elected as MPs in the 1960 parliament. The latter became Chief Justice in the early 60s following an illustrious role in negotiating for Somaliland independence in the 50s.
His Excellency the President of the Republic of Somaliland, Muse Bihi Abdi, sent condolences to the nation, the family and friends of the departed hero upon hearing the sad news.
Ahmed was one of the first Somalis to go to Oxford for postgraduate studies following earlier education in Yemen and Sudan before he embarked on a political career.
The legacy Ahmedkeyse left behind will last for eons to come. None can pay adequate homage to a man whose history and achievements defy the pen. May Allah rest his soul in peace.