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The Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party (Somali: Xisbiga Hantiwadaagga Kacaanka Soomaaliyeed, XHKS, Arabic: الحزب الاشتراكي الثوري الصومالي) was the governing political party in Somalia from 1976 to 1991.



XHKS poster

XHKS was created by the military regime of Siad Barre under Soviet guidance. A founding congress was held in June 1976. The congress elected a Central Committee, with Barre as the party general secretary. A five-member politburo, consisting of Barre, Lt. General Mahammad Ali Samantar (vice-president), Major General Husseen Kulmiye (2nd vice-president), Brig. Ahmad Sulaymaan Abdullah and Brig. Ismail Ali Abukor (who was later replaced by Brig. Ahmad Mahamuud Faarah), was constituted. Party cadres also included prominent socialists such as Abdulrahman Aidiid, Mohamed F. Weyrah (a well known socialist economist) and Abukar Sh. M Hussien.

During a brief period, prior to the escalation of conflict with Ethiopia in 1977, XHKS developed relations with foreign communist parties, such as the Communist Party of the Soviet Union and Socialist Unity Party of Germany. CPSU initiated a programme of assistance for the XHKS party school. After the break with the socialist states, a group including XHKS CC member broke away to form splinter groups. This was even further accelerated by the failed military coup of April 9, 1978. Popularly know as ”Nova Aprile”. In 1981 dissident factions would emerge as the Democratic Front for Salvation of Somalia.

When Barre's regime fell in 1991, XHKS disappeared. In the same year the Somali National Front was organized by Barre loyalists.



XHKS poster showing Ogaden as part of Greater Somalia

XHKS was in theory a Marxist-Leninist party, but also included Islam and Pan-Somalism teachings in its ideology.


XHKS was supposed to function as a political force transcending clan lines, but in reality there was little change in political practice. Power was concentrated to three clans. The party developed an intelligence branch, Baadhista xisbiga, which worked parallel to state intelligence and paramilitary groups. At most XHKS had around 20 000 members. XHKS held its 3rd Congress in November 1986. A major reshuffle of the Central Committee took place.

Role in Somali Government


XHKS poster

The Seventh Article of the 1979 constitution of the Somali Democratic Republic clarified the role of XHKS:

Authority and Leadership of the Party

  1. The Somali Revolutionary Socialist Party shall be the only legal party in the Somali Democratic Republic; no other party or political organisation may be established.
  2. The Somali Revolutionary Socialist party shall have supreme authority of political and socio-economic leadership in the Somali Democratic Republic.


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