The Emergency of Hizbia Digil & Mirifle (HDM)

By

Mohamed H. Mukhtar

 

Before 1947 the Somali organization had limited political objectives, and were principally concerned with cultural and social questions. Only when the arrival of the Four Power commission was imminent did parties and organizations begin to formulate more explicit economic and political demands. The HDM constituted on March 26, 1947 (preceding SYL which became a political organization from April 8, 1947). At that time the HDM claimed a membership of 60,871 and 800,000 supporters. The party aimed at practical measure for improving the general welfare of the country, which included the encouragement of agriculture and trade, raising the standard of education and guaranteeing the peace. Its emergence can also be understood as a reaction to the appearance of the SYL on the scene, which antagonized the local people, though under the guise of nationalism.

To Hizbia the county of Somalia was divided into two major regions; north of the Shabelle river and south of it, speaking two noticeably different dialects 'Maai' in the south, 'Mahaatiri' in the north. The people of the southern portion identify themselves as Rewin/Rahanweyn, a group made up of the Digil and Mirifle clan federation, the two confederation into which the southern people of Somalia are divided. They practice mixed farming and pastrolism. Thus there are important economic, cultural and linguistic differences between the southern population and the predominantly nomadic Somalis of the north.

Hizbia program was based on the interest of Digil and Mirifle first, in other words regional rather than national. Because of the remarkable expansion of the northern tribes supported by the European colonial powers, HDM though regionalism could best achieve a better life for all Somalis. In the Four Power commission report the Hizbia said of the their area of influence "we live in that part of Italian Somaliland which is more comfortable and fruitful than the rest, and we can produce all sorts of food in this place such as maize and bananas". The constitution of local pride and concern for their representation was well expressed in the testimony of Shiekh Abdullahi Sheikh Mohamed (Bogadi) the founder of Hizbia to the Commission: "My people are those who behave themselves better than other. We always prevent other people from making trouble or robbing. About conditions in our country, I wish to request three things, first we wish to have peace and security and secondly we want the country in which we live to always be regarded as belonging to us, and if the government who live with us wish anything from us we want it to be discussed with us. The other people who are not Digil & Mirifle people thin they may live and stay with us, but we want them behind us recognizing the land as belongings to us and not to them"

The Hizbia Digil Mirifle initial supported the Somalia conference, but soon denounced it and requested the Trusteeship of any government chosen by the four Powers .....TO BE CONTINUED