Togo names new government with record number of women ministers

by Reuters
Friday, 2 October 2020 16:32 GMT

Togo's President Faure Gnassingbe, Nigeria's President Muhammadu Buhari and ECOWAS Commission President Jean-Claude Kassi Brou are seen during the 54th Ordinary Session of the ECOWAS Authority of Heads of State and Government, in Abuja, Nigeria December 22, 2018. REUTERS/Afolabi Sotunde

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Togo's first female prime minister has appointed a new government with a record 30% of the 33 ministerial positions given to women

LOME, Oct 2 (Reuters) - Togo's first female prime minister has appointed a new government with a record 30% of the 33 ministerial positions given to women, according to the cabinet list announced on state television late on Thursday.

Prime Minister Victoire Tomegah-Dogbe, who was appointed earlier this week after the resignation of the previous government, named Essozimna Marguerite Gnakade as defence minister - the first time a woman has held that role.

The change in government had been expected since President Faure Gnassingbe won re-election in March, extending his 15-year rule and a family dynasty that began when his father took power in a 1967 coup.

Ahead of the February election, a fractured opposition struggled to launch a concerted campaign to unseat Gnassingbe despite widespread disaffection with his leadership of the small West African country of 8 million people.

Analyst Mohamed Djabakate, who works at the Togo-based Centre for Democratic Governance and Crisis Prevention, said the appointment of a more female government was "all a strategy with an eye towards public opinion."

The defence ministry's close connection to the presidency meant, "it doesn't matter who is put there," said Djabakate.

(Reporting by John Zodzi; Writing by Alessandra Prentice; Editing by Alex Richardson)