Women March 16, 2019 at 10:00 am

Gambian leader Adama Barrow replaces Veep with woman

Mildred Europa Taylor | Head of Content

Mildred Europa Taylor March 16, 2019 at 10:00 am

March 16, 2019 at 10:00 am | Women

Adama Barrow (Left) picks new veep, Isatou Touray (Right).

Africa has welcomed another female vice president as Gambian President Adama Barrow, on Friday, replaced his deputy with a woman, Isatou Touray. Barrow sacked Vice President Ousainou Darboe in a major cabinet reshuffle which also saw the dismissal of a few other cabinet members, APA reports.

It is not clearly known the reasons for the move, but an announcement from the Office of the President said the president was acting under Sections 70 (5) (a), 71(4) (b) and Sections 70(3) and 71(3) of the Gambian constitution to replace Darboe with Touray.

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Isatou Touray. Pic credit: Tuck Magazine 2019

Touray, who is the current health minister, is expected to serve as veep while overseeing her ministry until further notice.

Darboe’s sacking as VP comes in the midst of reports that he had “deteriorating relations” with Barrow.

The announcement from the presidency said that Amadou Sanneh, Minister to Trade, Regional Integration, Industry, and Employment, and Agriculture Minister, Lamin Dibba have also been fired. The two were said to be political allies of the sacked Vice President Darboe.

Darboe was one of the biggest challenges to the long-serving Yahya Jammeh administration. In December 2016, he was a prominent member of the opposition coalition that defeated Jammeh in the polls.

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Former Vice President Darboe (Left) and Gambian leader Adama Barrow. Pic credit: Freedom Newspaper

When Darboe was the leader of the biggest opposition party, (United Democratic Party (UDP), he always wanted to be the presidential candidate. This was while the opposition made various attempts to have a united front and was in disagreement as to who should be picked as leader of a possible coalition, the BBC reported.

Finally, ahead of the election, the coalition picked Barrow as the candidate because Darboe was then in jail.

Days after Jammeh lost the elections, Darboe was released. He was subsequently appointed Foreign Affairs Minister, a post he held till June 2018 when Barrow made him Vice President. He swapped positions with Fatoumata Jallow Tambajang, who was appointed foreign minister.

Isatou Touray will be the third female vice president in the Gambia. Under Jammeh, the country had a female veep named Isatou Njie-Saidy who was appointed in 1997.

Since then, South Africa, Uganda, Burundi, Tunisia, Malawi and Zimbabwe have all had women taking over the second most powerful seat in government.

Touray will now join a handful of other female vice-presidents in Africa. Currently, Zambia’s Vice-President is Inonge Wina, who is the country’s first female veep. She served as a legislator on two occasions, held ministerial positions and was a leader of the governing Patriotic Front party.

Tanzania also has a female vice president, Samia Suluhu, who was picked by President John Magufuli in 2015. She is the 10th Tanzanian vice-president but the first woman to hold the post.

From first lady to vice president of Liberia, Jewel Howard-Taylor played instrumental roles in President George Weah’s election victory in December 2017.

In Africa, female politicians often have to overcome many challenges such as social stigmas and economic barriers in order to succeed. Constituting a majority of the population, they should be involved in all levels of governance in order to achieve meaningful development.

There is a rising figure in the number of female politicians in recent times. These female leaders are directing the business of the government while representing a perfect gender-balance story in Africa.

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