Botswana swears in 30-year-old minister, the country’s youngest member of parliament
Botswana’s new president Mokgweetsi Masisi has sworn in his 18-member cabinet on Wednesday which includes the country’s youngest member of parliament Bogolo Joy Kenewendo.
The 30-year-old economist, media commentator and policy analyst first joined parliament in 2016 as a specially elected MP by former president Ian Khama, and she is now the Investment, Trade and Industry Minister.
Her appointment as a minister makes her the country’s youngest minister and one of few women to ever gain political leadership in the landlocked Southern African country.
This feat has generated a lot of reaction from many young Africans on social media who were not only admiring her good looks, but rethinking the choice of older political leaders in their countries.
One Twitter user EnviroMan from South Africa compared Bogolo to the women in his country’s cabinet who he described as Gogos – which means Grandmothers in the Xhosa language. “Get to SA and have a look at Gogos in the cabinet,” he tweeted under a post.
Another Twitter user Sandile Zulu tweeted: “Progressive nation, the future in the hands of those who have a chance to see it…..RSA Parly on the other hand is a retirement village”. He also criticized Botswana’s new president: “Khama retires at 65 and here a 66 year old has just taken over with the hope of staying for another 10 years….”
It is worth noting that Bogolo Joy Kenewendo holds an MSc in International Economics from the University of Sussex (UK) as a 2012 Chevening Scholar, a BA in Economics from the University of Botswana and she is a certified Project Management practitioner.
As one of two Botswana youth delegates to the 64th Session of the United Nations General Assembly, Bogolo was nominated to present a statement of African youth to the Secretary General of the United Nations.
She was also a women’s empowerment advocate as she and a friend formed the Molaya Kgosi Women Empowerment group following her Mandela Washington fellowship in 2011 which offered her the opportunity to meet former U.S. first lady Michelle Obama.
Bogolo Joy Kenewendo lived in Ghana after her Masters and worked as a trade economist in Ghana’s Ministry of Trade and Industry after a previous employment as an economic consultant at Econsult Botswana. She has won several awards including the Ten Outstanding Young Persons (TOYP) award by JCI Botswana in 2012.
After a disclosure of her background and experience, the tweets of admiration continued with criticism of Africa’s leadership which is saturated with elderly statesmen and women.