Aden Abdulle Osman will be remembered not only as Somalia's first president; he was also the first African leader to hand over power to a democratically elected successor. Elected in 1960, when the former British and Italian Somali colonies united to form the Republic of Somalia, Osman lost the 1967 presidential election and, unlike so many African leaders before and since, accepted his defeat graciously and gave up power.
Sadly, his successor, Abdirashid Ali Shermarke, did not have the opportunity to do the same. Shermarke was assassinated in 1969 and Mohamed Siad Barre led a coup that ushered in 22 years of military rule. Worse was to follow for Somalia as Siad Barre was
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