They gave the presidency their best shot – and still ‘won’ in defeat

Thursday February 21 2013

In addition to the women who have battled it out for the presidency in Africa, the list of others who tried, and came short or nearly close, is quite impressive.

It is a statement about how the media doesn’t pay attention to female candidates, that most of these selected women remain little known – if at all. The list is long, but a few stand out:


Alda Bandeira Tavares Vaz da Conçeicao (Sao Tomé e Principe)

She founded the Democratic Convergence Party – Reflection Group that successfully won legislative elections in 1991. She was the foreign minister from 1991-1993, a post she was appointed to again in 2002. She ran for the presidency in 1996, garnering 15 per cent of the vote, placing her in third place.

Ruth Rolland-Jeanne-Marie (Central African Republic)


She was the minister of social affairs in 1992 and 1993. She left her ministerial post to contest the presidency in 1993, which she lost. She was the leader of Parti Republicain de CentrAfrique from 1992-96.

Esther Dang (Cameroon)

She ran in the 2011 presidential election on the Bloc for the Reconstruction and Economic Independence of Cameroon ticket. She garnered 0.33 per cent of the total votes cast.

Angèle Bandou (Congo-Brazzaville)

She ran for elections in 1992 and 2002 on a Party of the Poor ticket. She was the first ever female presidential candidate in the country. However, she came last in both instances and was assassinated on August 26, 2004.

Princess Dr Inonge Mbikusita Lewanika (Zambia)

She made history for being the first woman to run for the presidency in Zambia. The daughter of King Lewanika of Barotseland, she was also Unicef’s regional advisor for Africa before venturing into politics in 1991, when she was elected to parliament. She ran for the presidency in 2001 on the Agenda for Zambia ticket. She was placed 10th with 0.6 per cent of the vote.

Antonieta Rosa Gomes (Guinea Bissau)

She contested in the 1994, 1999 and 2005 presidential elections. She came in last in the first two, and got 0.37 per cent in the latter. She is the leader of Foro Cívic da Guiné and ran on its ticket. In January 2001 she became the minister of foreign affairs and later the minister for defence.

Marie-Elise Akouavi Gbedo (Benin)

She ran for the top seat in Benin twice: in 2001 and in 2006. Before that President Mathieu Kérékou appointed her minister of commerce, crafts and tourism in 1998. He later fired her from the position in 1999 after a falling out.

In the 2001 election, she took 0.36 per cent of the vote in 11th place, while in the 2006 election she was placed 16th with 0.33 per cent of the vote. Ironically, Beninese women were said to be her biggest detractors because she is a divorcee. She is currently the Minister for Justice.

Edith Kabbang Walla (Cameroon)

The Cameroonian entrepreneur entered the presidential race in 2011 on a Cameroon People’s Party (CPP) ticket. She got 0.72 per cent of the total vote.

Edith Nawakwi (Zambia)

She contested in the 2011 presidential elections, coming in 7th. She received 0.25 per cent of the vote.

Dr Chomba Gwendoline Konie [Deceased] (Zambia)

She stood for presidential elections in Zambia in 2001 on a Social Democratic Party (SDP) ticket, a party that she founded She came in 9th with 0.59 per cent of the vote in an election won by Levy Mwanawasa.

She cited raising financial support to run her campaigns as a major impediment in her bid. She died on March 17, 2009 and was accorded a state funeral in Lusaka.

Loveness Gondwe (Malawi)

She was the presidential candidate for the New Rainbow Coalition in Malawi’s 2009 election. She managed 32,432 votes, about 0.72per cent of the votes cast.

Ebiti Ndok Jegede (Nigeria)

From Akwa-Ibom, Cross River, she ran in the 2011 presidential election on a ticket of a party she founded, the United National Party for Development. She was the only woman to run in that election. She came in 14th with 0.06 per cent of the vote.

Aicha Mint Jeddane (Mauritiana)

The first female presidential hopeful in Mauritanian history, she ran in the 2003 elections picking up 0.46 per cent of the vote.

Amsatou Sow Sidibé (Senegal)

A law professor at the University Cheikh Anta Diop, she stood in the 2012 presidential election and came in 12th with 0.19 per cent of the vote.

Anália de Vitoria Pereira (Angola)

She ran for elections in 1992 and 1999 on the Democratic Liberal Party ticket, which she founded in 1983. She received 11,475 votes, about 0.29 per cent of the vote in 1992.

Catherine Nzuzi wa Mbombo (DR Congo)

Vied for the presidency in the 2006 General Election and got 0.38 per cent of the vote. She ran on a Mouvement populaire de la revolution ‘Fait prive’ (MPR) ticket.

Celestine Zannou Wetohossou (Benin)

She was incumbent President Mathieu Kerekou’s former Cabinet director. She contested in the 2006 presidential election and obtained 0.32 per cent of the vote.

Diouma Dieng Diakhaté (Senegal)

The second female presidential candidate in the 2012 presidential election. She came in last, picking up 0.12 per cent of the votes.

Elia Ravelomanantsoa Razafindrabe (Madagscar)

The first woman in Madagascar to ever run for president. She contested in the 2006 election, winning 2.56 per cent of the vote and coming in 7th.

Fatima Abd el-Mahoud (Sudan)

She was the first female Sudanese presidential aspirant when she contested in the General Election in 2010. She stood on the Sudanese Socialist Democratic Union ticket, coming in 11th with 0.3 per cent of the vote.

Louisa Hanoune (Algeria)

In 2004, she became the first woman to run for president of Algeria on the Worker’s Party ticket. She won 1 per cent of the vote. She vied again in the 2009 election, this time faring better with 4.22 per cent.

Marie-Thérèse N’landu Mpolo (DRC)

She got 0.21 per cent of the vote in the 2006 DRC elections, running on a Party for Peace in Congo ticket.

Mojisola Adekunla-Obasanjo (Nigeria)

Ex-wife of former president Olusegun Obasanjo. She ran for the 2007 presidential elections and was the only woman on the ballot paper that year. She however came in last with 0.01 per cent of the vote. She had also run for elections in 2003 on a Masses Movement of Nigeria ticket where she came in last again.

Rose Francine Rogombé (Gabon)

She was the acting president of Gabon from June – October 2009 following the death of president Omar Bongo. She was the first female head of state of Gabon, and returned to the Senate Presidency she held before her brief ascent to the highest office.

Sidibé Aminata Diallo (Mali)

A professor at the University of Bamako at the time, she was the first woman to contest presidential elections in Mali in March 2007. She ran on the Rally for Sustainable Education and Development platform, bagging 0.55 per cent of the vote and coming in 7th place.

Wivine N’Guz N’landu Kavidi (DRC)

She was a candidate for the Union pour la défense de la république (UDR) party in the 2006 DRC elections. Before that she was the secretary general of women affairs in Mobutu Sese Seko’s government in 1980 and is the sister of Marie-Thérèse N’landu Mpolo, who also ran in the same election.