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Isatou Njie-Saidy

Isatou Njie-Saidy




Isatou Njie-Saidy, born on March 15, 1952, in Kuntaya, North Bank Division, is a prominent Gambian politician who served as the Vice President of The Gambia from March 20, 1997, to January 18, 2017. She also held the position of Secretary of State for Women's Affairs during her tenure. As the first Gambian woman to occupy the role of Vice President, Njie-Saidy was a trailblazer in West African politics, achieving a significant milestone for women in leadership positions in the region.

Njie-Saidy began her education at Brikama Primary School from 1959 to 1964 and continued her studies at Armitage High School in Georgetown until 1970. In 1971, she attended Yundum Teacher Training College, earning a teaching qualification in 1974. Furthering her education, she studied at the Research Institute for Management Science at Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands, where she received a post-graduate diploma in industrial management in 1979. She also studied at the University of the Philippines in 1981, earning a certificate in small-scale industrial information management. Njie-Saidy completed her MSc in social and economic development at the University of Swansea in September 1988.

Her political career began in September 1983 when she served as Deputy Executive Secretary of the Women's Bureau, a role she held until December 1989. The bureau was the decision-making body of the National Women's Council, providing her with valuable experience in advocating for women's issues.

In 1996, two years after Yahya Jammeh's coup d'état, Njie-Saidy was appointed Minister of Health, Social Welfare, and Women's Affairs. Her promotion to Vice President of The Gambia in March 1997, shortly after the presidential election in which Jammeh was victorious, marked a pivotal moment in her career. Njie-Saidy continued to speak and write extensively on women's issues in The Gambia, contributing to the advancement of gender equality in the country.

However, in December 2015, reports emerged of a strained relationship between Njie-Saidy and President Jammeh, with allegations that Jammeh was considering replacing her. This tension may have contributed to her decision to resign on January 18, 2017, during the 2016–17 constitutional crisis, alongside several other government ministers.

Njie-Saidy is married and the mother of four children. She is multilingual, speaking several languages, including Mandinka, Fulani, Wolof, English, and French. Her career has been marked by significant achievements, especially in advocating for women's rights and representation in Gambian politics.


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