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.