AFRICA’S LEADING WOMEN SERIES: African women who’ve served/are serving their countries in the capacities of: President, Prime minister and/or Vice President.
Know them, appreciate them and remember them.
Initiated by Nyokabi Ng’ang’a, for The Involvement Newspaper.
PART 8 (Final Part of the Series)
By: Nyokabi Ng’ang’a (Leshnyokabi@gmail.com)
Thumbnail photo created by Nyokabi Ng’ang’a
Mame Madior Boye: Senegal’s 1st female Prime Minister.
Mame Madior Boye was born in 1940 in Saint-Louis, Senegal.
A lawyer by profession, she gained an education on her area of expertise from the Faculty of Legal and Economic Sciences in Dakar and the National Center for Judicial Studies in Paris. This paved her way, to become the first female President of the Association of Senegalese Lawyers from 1975-1990.
Later in the year 1990, she took the position of Director of Engagements at the West Africa Banking Company, serving the organization till the year 2000.
After Abdoulaye Wade was elected President of Senegal in 2000, she was appointed Minister of Justice and a year later, following the dismissal by President Wade, Prime Minister Moustapha Niasse resigned and Mame Madior was then appointed the new Premier by the President. This appointment was the first in the country’s history in female occupancy.
However, in 2002, Mame Madior was dismissed as Premier by President Wade, reportedly due to ‘the lack of enough response’ on the Joola maritime tragedy- often referred to as a sea disaster ‘worse than titanic’- that caused the deaths of thousands.
Luck seemingly on her side, she was appointed African Union’s Special Representative for the promotion of the protection of civilians in armed conflicts, two years later, by Mali’s 4th President and then, Chairperson of the African Union Commission- Alpha Oumar Konaré. However, with changing tides, a judge in France issued an arrest warrant on her, alongside other 8 persons, in 2008, in connection to the Joola disaster. Though this didn’t happen, as the Senegalese government casted off the Judge’s arrest warrant issue and instead, prosecuted the judge in mention.
To learn more of Mame Madior, click here.
Dr. Aminata Touré: Senegal’s 2nd female Prime Minister.
Dr. Aminata Touré was born in 1962 in her country, Senegal.
A PhD holder in International Business, Administration and Finance from the University of Burgundy, France; her areas of expertise, as publicly recorded, revolve around: Economics, Administration/Governance and Gender Affairs.
Before being appointed Prime Minister by President Macky Sall in 2013, she worked at the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) and of note, as the Director of Gender and Human Rights World Department at the UN subsidiary, in New York, from 2009-2012. Shortly after, she was appointed Minister of Justice by President Sall, where she served for a year or so. As Minister of Justice, she was credited for her anti-corruption campaigns, which saw the arrest of prominent people in Senegal and made her gain the title: ‘The Iron Lady’.
In 2013, as earlier registered, she was appointed Premier and served her country at large, for nearly a year, before her dismissal authorized by President Sall on July 2014, after she failed to win local elections in Dakar.
Nonetheless, she continued working under President Sall’s administration, as his Special Envoy for Internal and External Affairs and on his election observatory team/mission; which missioned in various African countries, to mention: Kenya, Mauritius, Ivory Coast and Liberia.
To learn more of Dr. Aminata, click here.
Joice Mujuru: Zimbabwe’s 1st female Vice President.
Joice Runaida Mujuru was born in the year 1958, in her country, Zimbabwe.
She is a renowned guerrilla war veteran who fought against Ian Smith’s white Rhodesian minority government, alongside other notable persons of/in Zimbabwe’s history.
With a Bachelor’s and a Master’s degree in Management and Entrepreneurial Studies, all gotten from one of her Country’s Universities, she set out to be, as registered, the youngest cabinet minister in post-colonial government, heading the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Recreation, from 1980-1985. Prior to this, it’s noted, she was a Member of Parliament for Mt. Darwin West Parliamentary Seat.
In 1985, she was appointed Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office, where she served for five years, and close afterward, chosen as Minister of Community Development, Co-operatives and Women’s Affairs, where she served for four years.
From 1992 to 1996, she became Governor of Mashonaland Central (a province in Zimbabwe) and later, she was appointed Minister of Information, Posts and Telecommunications. In this post, she served Zimbabwe for a year and later took the post of Minister for Rural resources and Water Development in 1997-2004.
After the passing of Vice President Simon Muzenda in 2004, the Women’s league of the Zimbabwe African National Union- Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) – the country’s leading political party in which the late President Mugabe belonged to-, convened a meeting and pushed forth for the appointment of a woman, Joice Mujuru to this regard, as the new Vice President.
This move, however constrained, was accepted and implemented by the late President Mugabe, causing Joice Mujuru to be the first woman to head such a position in the country’s history. Ten years down the line, however, following plotting suspicions and claims, President Mugabe ousted Ma’am Joice from power. This also resulted to her membership-loss in the ZANU-PF party.
To learn more about Ma’am Joice Mujuru, click here.
Inonge Mutukwa Wina: Zambia’s 1st female Vice President.
Inonge Mutukwa was born in 1941 in her country, Zambia.
A holder of a B.A degree in History and Sociology from the University of Zambia- as her career’s starter- she has featured in many NGO boards and portfolio committees of her government.
In 2001, Ma’am Inonge Wina contested for the Nalolo Constituency Parliamentary seat under the United Party for National Development (UNDP), which to her credit and to that of her then party, she won. Serving in this post for close to six years, she re-contested under the United Liberal Party- a splinter of the UNDP-, and sadly, lost.
Five years later, in 2011, she contested once more and won, but, under the country’s ruling Patriotic Front (PF) Party ticket. In the same year, purportedly, she was appointed by the late President Michael Sata, as the Minister of Chiefs and Traditional Affairs, where she served her country in that post for 3 years, and later in 2014, appointed Minister of Gender and Child Development.
In the year 2015, following the win of President Edgar Lungu, she was appointed the Vice President of the Republic of Zambia, making her the first woman to occupy such a position in her country. However, resignation calls from her post, as of this year, are high following the claims of her old age and COVID-19 contraction.
To learn more about Ma’am Inonge Wina, a Zambian revered human rights activist, click here.
Others who deservingly need a mention for leading their countries, though tentatively, in the aforementioned positions are:
- Ivy Matsepe- Casaburri of South Africa, who led her country as acting President twice. One, in 2005, when both the President and Vice President were out of the country, and two, when President Thabo Mbeki resigned and close afterward, Kgalema Motlanthe assumed Presidency. She held these two similar roles for four days and 14 hours, respectively.
- Thokozani Khupe of Zimbabwe, who led her country as Deputy Premier in the year 2009 to the year 2013.
- Queen Gwamile of the Kingdom of eSwatini, who led her country (Kingdom) as its regent before King Sobhuza the Second, King Mswati the third’s father, become of age and fit to lead the Kingdom as its heir.
- Queen Dzeliwe of the Kingdom of eSwatini, who led her country (Kingdom), as well, on behalf of King Mswati the third, who was then young and unfit to occupy the role of King.
If there is anyone who isn’t captured in this series and deservingly needs a mention, feel free to write to us or post their name on the comment box.