JIGJIGA, Ethiopia – Former Somali Minister Ali Khalif Galaydh has died in Jigjiga city, the capital of the Somali regional state of Ethiopia, due to COVID-19 on Thursday, according to the local minister.
Speaking to the media, Mukhtar Yusuf, Deputy Minister of Information of the Somali Region, said that they have found out that Galaydh died of COVID-19 after performing a post mortem, is to determine the cause of his death.
He has served as prime minister during the first transitional government in Somalia, formed in 2000, a position he held for just two years. The transitional government was formed almost a decade after the ouster of military ruler Siad Barre.
He will be the third person to have ever held such a position, dying this year. Earlier this year, former Prime Minister Nur Adde died in London after concluding the novel Coronavirus. Later in July this year, another former Prime Minister Hassan Abshir died in Turkey, where he had resided for a few years.
The announcement came after President Mustafe Mohamed Omar of the Somali region set up a committee that will now investigate the death of the former prime minister. The Government of Somalia condoled on the death of Galaydh.
President Farmajo and Prime Minister Mohamed Hussein Roble have expressed their condolences to the ex-Prime Minister’s family and friends and announced a national committee to work on a state funeral for the deceased official, whose body is scheduled to be flown to Mogadishu in the coming days.
Ali Khalif will be the second former Somali Prime Minister to die of the deadly coronavirus pandemic after the late Nur Hassan Hussein “Nur Adde”, who died in London in April 2020. NUr Adde was Prime Minister of the Horn of African Nations from November 2007 to February 2009.
While paying tribute to the former Prime Minister, the Ogaden National Liberation Front [ONLF] the party called him a “prominent educator and political figure who helped the Somali nation through the difficult times”. The party wished its family peace throughout the mourning period.
Born in the 1940s in Las Anod, Somalia, Ali Khalif originally came to the United States in 1962 to pursue his bachelor’s degree. He studied a bachelor’s degree from Boston University, a master’s degree from Syracuse University and a doctorate from Syracuse University according to his biography.
As a scholar, he was recognized as an academic and public official, having held positions in both Somalia and the United States. In Somalia, Ali served as Director-General of the Somali Institute of Public Administration or SIPA [1970-1976], CEO of Jowhar Sugar Enterprise [1974-1976], Chairman of the Board of the Juba Sugar Project [1976-1980]and Minister of Industry [1980-1982].
In 1982, he accepted a scholarship to the Center for International Affairs and the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at Harvard University [1982-1986]. He was also a professor at Syracuse University [1989-1996]and the founder of the SOMTEL telecommunications company
From 2000 to 2001, Ali served as Prime Minister of Somalia following the Somalia National Peace Conference in Djibouti. Shortly thereafter, he joined his wife and children in Minnesota, where he taught at the University of Minnesota Humphrey Institute of Public Affairs.