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.
Buahri’s daughter in self-isolation
A member of Nigeria’s first family is in self isolation, first lady Aisha Muhammadu Buhari confirmed on Thursday. Hanan Buhari, a first daughter, is in self isolation after returning from the United Kingdom.
“Based on the advice of the Hon. Minister Of Health , Presidential Task force on COVID – 19 and that of NCDC, She is on Self Isolation, not because she displayed any symptoms of the Covid-19,” her mother wrote on Twitter.
Nigeria on Wednesday banned thirteen high-risk countries from entering into the territory over the coronavirus pandemic. Seven of those countries were in Europe including the U.K. Nigeria currently has eight cases of the COVID-19 according to the country’s disease control outfit.
“Please I urge all parents to do the same if possible as prevention is better than cure. Similarly, I have shut down my office for two weeks with immediate effect while essential staff can work from home as a result of some Staff who recently returned from the UK, she added.
Ghana First Lady cancels event over coronavirus
A planned event by Ghana’s First Lady, Rebecca Akufo-Addo has been cancelled due to the reported cases of COVID-19 in the country.
The event, which was scheduled for later this evening was to award some Ghanaian women as part of the National Women’s Month celebration.
A spokesperson for the First Lady, Sheila Sekyi said the office does not want to take chances after two cases were reported yesterday [Thursday]. Sheila Sekyi said the cancellation is in the interest of the public.
“I think yesterday we were notified by the Ministry of Health that there have been two confirmed cases of the COVID-19 in Ghana so as a precautionary measure we had to cancel this international women’s day high-level event scheduled for this evening just to prevent and also lead the way in avoiding public meeting of such a nature and avoiding possible spread.
“We are paying close attention to what the authorities who are in charge of managing the situation have to say about it so, for now, this is the event that we have had a need to cancel.”
Zimbabwe First Lady gets class one driver’s license
Zimbabwe’s First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa as part of Wonemn’s month activities has undergone training in defensive driving and was on Wednesday awarded a first class license.
The report said the First Lady’s action was also to inspire other women to take driving seriously given that the country generally had a low number of especially public transport drivers.
Mrs Mnangagwa, after receiving her Class One driver’s licence in Harare is quoted as saying: “Women are the most careful drivers and I have done it so I urge women to also consider taking class one and save the lives of people on the roads. I have done it and women can do it.”
ZBC shared photos on twitter of the first lady driving a public bus ostensibly as part of her training and testing process. A Vehicle Inspection Department official applauded the First Lady for being a careful driver, the report added.
“She has passed the test and am happy that she is a careful driver. Women are generally good drivers and I urge other women to follow suit,” he said.