As a professional accountant and auditor, Ali Gulaid employed his profession to promote accountability and transparency in Somaliland. Ali was praised by passion for public service and care he provided for humanitarian causes. Ali played important role in implanting seed of democracy in Somaliland. Ali life’s was shortened by a tragic car accident on road to Barbara’s airport. Ali has left us with unrealized dreams and vision for Somaliland. In death as in life Ali Gulaid brought people together. I hope his legacy will inspire young people to play important role in leading the country in right direction.
Ali Muhammad Gulaid aka Ali Marshal was born in Hargeisa in 1945. Ali graduated from Sheikh Secondary School with accolades 1967. As a young man Ali got his first job with the Port Authority of Barbera as an accountant. It is ironic that Ali leased a Chevy truck that he owned to the company that was building the road between Hargeisa and Barbera in the 1970s- the very road that claimed his life prematurely.
Ali left Somaliland for Saudi Arabia to fulfill his solemn duty along with his beloved mother to the Hajj in 1973. He continued his journey to Abu Dubai where he worked in a construction company as an accountant.
Ali left for the United States 1976. He finished his studies at Marquette University with a degree in accounting. Ali moved to California got a job offer from Santa Clara County as a junior auditor. During his tenure with Santa Clara County he obtained his CPA (Certified Public Accounting) and later became senior auditor. In this capacity he directed a team of auditors in covering auditing standards, attestation engagement standards, accounting and review services standards, audit risk alerts and other vital auditing-related guidance issued by the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA).
Ali assumed a more challenging and rewarding position at the African Development Bank in Ivory Coast in 1991 as a Principal Finance Officer. He oversaw projects in African nations that are funded by the African Development Bank. During his tenure in the African Development Bank Ali gained profound experience in not only marshaling projects from inception to finish, but also in nation building. He experienced how economy and politics are so intertwined in African nations and centralization of government power, corruption, nepotism and injustice hinder economic developments. Ali moved back to the California in 2000, where he worked at Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority (VTA) as accountant and Budget Analyst.
Concerned about the deteriorating political situation in Somaliland, Ali started Waaberi Radio. Waaberi radio went on air in Somaliland in 2006. On air Ali provided budgetary analysis, addressed misappropriation of nation’ wealth and he gave platform to address human right violations in the country. Ali Gulaid funded the project and run the station from his apartment in San Jose. He believed people informed citizens can make sound judgment and stand up for their rights. In addition to Waaberi station, Ali authored numerous articles about Somaliland that were both exposing and enlightening. He used his training and specialty to serve his people. He was striving to reform the political culture of Somaliland into a system that is conducive to foster economic development, social justice and lasting stability.
He could have retired into the sunset of California, enjoyed the comfort and the amenities that come with it, but Ali gave up all that to help his follow Somalilanders, but he chose to fight for peace and democracy in his homeland.