The real power in Africa rests with its first ladies

Africa first ladies

Former French First lady Carla Bruni-Sarkozy (centre) and first ladies from 10 African countries pose in front of the Elysee palace in Paris on July 13, 2010, following a meeting between leaders of 12 African countries. Foreground: Central African Republic's Monique Bozize (left), Congolese Antoinette Sassou-Nguesso (2dL), Burkina Faso's Chantal Compaore (3dL), Benin's Chantal de Souza Yayi (4thL), Cameroon's Chantal Biya (3dR), Mali's Lobbo Traore Toure (2ndR) and Niger's Fati Alzouma Djobo Salou (R). Background : Gabon' Sylvia Valentin (L), Mauritania's Tekber Mint Melainine Ould Ahmed (C) and Senegal's Viviane Wade (2ndR). 

Photo credit: File | AFP

What you need to know:

  • Compared with other big women, some former and incumbent African first ladies are bigger than the real forces on the throne, conspicuous consumers and pretty extravagant fashion icons

When lawyer Paul Muite had a run in with Kenya’s First Family, he was probably foolhardy— because you cross swords with Africa’s first ladies at your own peril. Although they don’t hold any elective or constitutional offices, these ladies command enormous clout.

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