Ali Aden Lord

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Ali Aden Lord was a Somali, born and raised in Nairobi in 1915 from famous Adan Lord family from Laasqoray. As his last name suggests, he came to acquire, bequeathed in a sense, a huge land in the Eastleight section of Nairobi, including the Air Force base area, as a result of his father’s legacy. And he owned many Real Estate properties.

Ali Aden Lord joined the Mau Mau resistance later and became a key figure in its leadership. He was said to have been a close friend of Jomo Kenyata during the struggle to Political Independence.

Ali Adan Lord became the first Somali MP and later the Interior Minister of Kenya, after which he did so many things for the Somali community. As an Interior Minister, Mr. Lord included along with Jomo Kenyatta the state delegation that went to Mogadishu during President Sharmaake’s term. In honor of his achievement, President Sharmarke named a new road after his name in Mogadishu.

Mr. Ali Aden Lord founded the famous North Eastern People Progressive Party (NPPP). During his political career he campaigned vigorously to improve the conditions of Somalis in the 4 frontier Districts from its utter neglect and isolation. He was very much liked and particularly popular in his letters and petitions to different governors in pre-independent Kenya. He raised the bar for economic development and strove to secure a coherent policy of integration. Of special note is the introduction of educational facilities in the region and of scholarships.

In mid-1961, Ali Aden Lord and British Secretary for Colonial Affairs met each other in Nairobi and discussed over NPPP’s independent platform. He was allowed to attend the Constitutional Conference at Lancaster House in London. At the Conference, Ali Aden Lord articulated Somalis’ fear and concern over their political rights as a religiously distinct and minority ethnic group. He pleaded his case that if Britain did not give the NFD the right to self-determination before it handed over political power to Kenya, “the frontier could expect neglect, bad administration and disregard for their rights at best and at worst oppression”. For this, he became the sole candidate for the entire NFD and won his seat in the Parliament as a KADU -Independent member. Ali Aden became a member of the LEGCO in 1960, a Legislative Council whose membership had been previously exclusive to white settlers until the late 1950s. He was very much aware of the futility of the secessionist platform of NPPP. Nevertheless the concept of Greater Somalia dominated public opinion and he used it as a crucial rallying point for his mandate over what his critics referred to as a “weak grassroots base” because having born, educated and lived outside the region for most of his life, he did not want to be seen as an outsider and collaborator of the colonial designs of Kenya. He used the secessionist platform to address the underlying ethnic grievances.

Consequently he filed a number of petitions to the governor Sir Patrick Renison that Somalis be given a greater autonomy in their political, cultural and social affairs. However, it was concluded at the Lancaster House that Somalis from the non-self governing Somali territory of NFD shared a common political destiny with the rest of Kenya despite the findings of an independent Commission appointed by the British Government that Somalis were in favor of an independence and immediate union with Somalia. Though a federal solution was proposed in the Kenyan constitution as an amendment on the eve of Independence, the government suspended the clause and opted for a centralized format in 1964. And Jomo Kenyatta vehemently defended his country’s territorial integrity even if takes using lethal force.

He later adopted a long-term policy that the political issues between the secessionist-inspired NPPP and the two major political parties of KADU and KANU be resolved through consensus and mutual respect.

He Interior Minister Aden Lord was a catalyst for the degree of contemporary political participation of Somalis in Kenya.

Edit ( Jama Feyte, Senior Political, Analysis -