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’.
OAFLAD is currently led by First Lady of Burkina Faso, Adjoavi Sika Kabore, who is deputised by her Kenyan counterpart Margaret Kenyatta.
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.
In this article, we will share updates from the continent’s First Ladies as they take on different roles to complement their government’s policies.
Zambian official fired for disrespecting First Lady
A mayor in Zambia has been relieved of his position in the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party, after he reportedly refused to greet the country’s First Lady.
The state-owned Daily Mail newspaper reported that Kitwe mayor Christopher Kang’ombe was suspended from the party last week and has now been stripped of his position as the PF’s vice-chairman in the Copperbelt Province.
Kang’ombe is accused of gross indiscipline that includes failing to line up to greet Esther Lungu when she recently visited the area, and refusing to be introduced at a public event attended by the First Lady.
‘‘During the visit of the First Lady, Kang’ombe was offered a back seat which he refused…After the church service, he refused to line up and greet the First Lady,’‘ reads part of his suspension letter, according to the Daily Mail.
“When the First Lady’s official envoy started off, he pulled away from the convoy and instead drove away,” it adds.
Kang’ombe however still retains his mayoral post.
Updates from OAFLAD
La Première Dame du #Kenya, Margaret Kenyatta @FirstLadyKenya a lancé son programme d’élimination de la transmission mère-enfant du VIH et de la syphilis dans plusieurs comtés lors de la tournée médicale de #BeyondZero. #FirstLadies#AfricaFirstLadies#SayAfricaIsTheFuture pic.twitter.com/cfieZKxyexLoading...
— Africa First Ladies (@AFirstLadies) March 4, 2020
This morning, President Kagame and First Lady Jeannette Kagame joined residents of @CityofKigali for the bi-weekly #CarFreeDay activities, organised today in line with the upcoming International Women's Day, celebrated every 8 March.#IWD pic.twitter.com/50RwQIwqDh
— First Lady of Rwanda (@FirstLadyRwanda) March 1, 2020
Merci à tous ces hommes qui s’engagent à nos côtés pour mettre fin à toutes les formes de discrimination auxquelles les #femmes et les filles sont confrontées. Ce combat est aussi le vôtre. Il ne pourra se gagner sans vous.#ZeroDiscrimination #PourElles #DroitdesFemmes #Egalité pic.twitter.com/OiSISCVt01
— Sylvia Bongo Ondimba (@Sylviabongo) March 1, 2020
La Première Dame de la Côte D’Ivoire, Dominique Ouattara @dominiqueouat a reçu le trophée de la Première Dame d’exception du #FAFEL pour l’ensemble de son engagement humanitaire. A noter la présence de Madame @sambapanza #FirstLadies#AfricaFirstLadies#SayAfricaIsTheFuture pic.twitter.com/rQnOCXf9lc
— Africa First Ladies (@AFirstLadies) March 3, 2020