Across the African continent, First Ladies are generally considered the ‘Mother of the Nation’, and are often expected to be unifying figures, serving the president of the nation and the voters who entrusted him the mandate to lead.
While the position of first lady is not legally or constitutionally provided for in many countries, many presidencies cater for the Office of the First Lady, through which the holder is facilitated to champion social causes.
The Organisation of African First Ladies for Development (OAFLAD), created in 2002, brings together First Ladies of Africa ‘to advocate for policies that make health services accessible and laws that boost women and youth empowerment’.
A first lady by definition is the wife of the head of state, and it therefore follows that most African nations led by a male president, have a first lady.
Sierra Leone’s First Lady says ‘I Do’
Sierra Leone’s president Julius Maada Bio and his Muslim wife Fatima Bio on Friday exchanged their vows in a Catholic Church in the capital Freetown.
The couple were married in a civil ceremony in the United Kingdom seven years ago, before they became Sierra Leone’s First family.
Friday’s wedding was widely discussed in Sierra Leone especially following allegations by the president’s ex-wife that she wedded him before a Catholic priest in the east of the country.
Sierra Leone President Julius Maada Bio and 1st Lady Fatima Bio exchange wedding vows once again today seven years after a traditional ceremony in the UK. It is going to be a low key ceremony with less fanfare . Reception to climax the event will be hosted at State Lodge
— Jonathan Leigh (@Jonatha04140703) February 21, 2020
— AYV Media Empire (@AYVSierraLeone) February 21, 2020
It is a nightmare in sierra Leone, our president H.E Maada Bio is getting married while our economy is getting divorce!!!!
— kadi Karlmax (@CoConteh) February 19, 2020
A wedding that sends strange, given the other things that surround it…and it's said he wants to marry his wife for the second time, this time in the catholic church
— Mikail Abd-Allah "Israel" ibn Adama (@SeekingJustPath) February 20, 2020
Education curriculum in Uganda
Uganda’s First Lady, who also serves as the education minister on Thursday appeared before the country’s parliament to defend the roll out of a new curriculum for secondary schools.
Members of parliament had raised several issues including scarcity of textbooks and insufficient training of teachers on the new curriculum that was to come into effect at the beginning of the school term this month.
While parliament had directed that implementation of the curriculum is suspended, the education ministry insisted on its roll out and started orienting teachers.
Appeal to criminals in Zambia
Zambia’s First Lady Esther Lungu on Tuesday broke down in tears as she appealed to perpetrators of gas attacks that have spread across the country, to stop.
“I’m making an earnest appeal to the people that are behind this gassing – to an extent of gassing innocent schoolchildren, innocent families….I am appealing, as the mother of the nation, I am appealing…,’‘ the First Lady told a group of women, before falling to her knees as she cried.