Sheikh Mukhtar Mohamed Hussein

Sheikh Mukhtar Mohamed Hussein (Sheekh Mukhtaar Maxamed Xuseen, الشيخ محمد حسين مختار) (born 1912) was the speaker of the Somali parliament, and briefly an interim president in 1969.


He was born into the Hadame family (part of the larger Rahanweyn clan), in the central town of Xuddur in the Bakool region.

Sheikh Mukhtar studied, as was customary in those days in Somalia, the Qur'an, learning and memorizing entire chapters of the Muslim holy book. He later supplemented his studies in Islamic history, thus acquiring the title 'sheikh'.

Sheikh Mukhtar became a businessman in his early adult years, opening a store in Xuddur and later expanding to open a larger one in Baidoa, before he entered politics.


In the late 1940s, Sheikh Mukhtar joined the then burgeoning, nationalist party of the Somali Youth Club (which later changed its name to the Somali Youth League). He served the SYL's head office in what was then known as Upper Jubba, which included several current regions of Southwestern Somalia.

He eventually rose to be a prominent member of the League and in 1956, he was elected to what was then the first national assembly of the Somali people, the Legislative Assembly, under the trusteeship of Italy. He was among the first formed, but limited government of the then prime minister of Abdullahi Issa. He at first served as deputy of justice minister and then as minister of justice.

Sheikh Mukhtar was re-elected to the Legislative Assembly in 1959, just before the independence of the Somali state. He was a member of the newly reconstructed, from Legislative Assembly to Constituent Assembly, and was then re-elected in 1964. Sheikh Mukhtar was the speaker of the Somali parliament, from 1965–1969, until the coup d'etat that occurred in 1969. He briefly became interim president the week between the assassination of President Abdirashid Ali Shermarke and the day of the coup.

Sheikh Mukhtar, along with prominent figures from the civilian government, was placed under house arrest by the new president of the republic, Mohamed Siad Barre; the first few years with severe restrictions which were later relaxed when he eventually reclaimed his freedom.

Sheikh Mukhtar retired from politics in 1969 and devoted his time to his farm Afgooye and studying Islam. He still lives in Mogadishu.


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