Two Africans Make New UK PM, Boris Johnson’s Cabinet
The UK now has a new Prime Minister after Teresa May who came in three years ago to sort out David Cameron’s Brexit issues, following a leadership contest.
Despite controversy about his premiership due to racist, homophobic and sexist statements he made in the past, Johnson beat all the odds to emerge the new prime minister of the United Kingdom.
Touted by some as ‘the British Trump’, the loud and controversial former London Mayor and UK foreign secretary has been compared with U.S. President Donald Trump as both of them have been noted for making offensive and outrageous remarks.
In Africa, some of his infamous comments include calling Africa “‘a mess, ‘Aids-ridden choristers’ and the ‘Flag-Waving Picaninnies and Tribal Warriors with Watermelon Smiles.’”
He has overtly mocked Africa in insensitive jokes, appreciated the land from an imperialistic high horse and viewed the people from the eyes of the first messengers of the Queen, who, when they arrived on the shores of the continent did not see people, but natives, a significantly inferior species of hominids.
With his emergence as PM, however, comes a bright light for Africans as two from the continent have made it to his cabinet to assist him in running affairs, including plans to take the United Kingdom out of the European Union by October 31.
Their appointments come amidst concerns over the many times the newly elected leader has denigrated Africa as foreign minister and how this would affect Britain’s relations with Africa.
Some social media users have even adopted the hashtag #NotMyPM to express their dislike for the former journalist and columnist who is now Britain’s leader.
Last Wednesday, Johnson chose members of his government, filling key positions with mostly supporters who campaigned for him to take over the leadership position
“Boris Johnson’s new Cabinet has a strongly pro-Brexit flavour, with the major cabinet posts going to those who have backed his plan to take Britain out of the European Union by October 31 with or without a withdrawal deal,” reports say.
The two Africans who made the full list of the over a 100 ministerial and government appointments made by Johnson are Nigerian Kemi Badenoch and Ghanaian Kwasi Alfred Addo Kwarteng.
39-year-old Kemi Badenoch took the office of Junior Minister for Children and Families following a government reshuffle. Badenoch is a British Conservative politician and Member of Parliament (MP) for Saffron Walden.
Her new post “encompasses child protection, children in care, adoption, care leavers, social work, local authority performance, and family law.”
Born Olukemi Olufunto Adegoke in January 1980 in Wimbledon, London to Nigerian parents, Badenoch’s childhood was spent in Lagos and the United States.
She moved to the United Kingdom at the age of 16 and has been the MP for Saffron Walden since 2017 after replacing Nadhim Zawahi. The software and IT engineer studied Systems Engineering at the University of Sussex and later followed this up with a law degree before spending some years in the IT and banking sectors, working in the banking sector for firms such as Coutts and RBS.
A mother of two, Kemi believes that Britain would be better off without the EU, describing the vote for Brexit during her 2017 maiden speech as MP, as “the greatest ever vote of confidence in the project of the United Kingdom”.
Tweeting about her recent appointment, Badenoch said: “Thank you for all good wishes and kind messages of support received. I also look forward to working not just with @Conservatives colleagues but cross-party and grateful for the warm welcome from @TracyBrabin and @Steve ReedMP who no doubt will be keeping me on my toes!”
Ghanaian-British MP, Kwasi Alfred Addo Kwarteng, representing Spelthorne in Surrey, who has been an MP since 2010 and a junior Brexit minister, was made UK Minister of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy. He is a senior member of the government attending cabinet.
Kwarteng worked as an analyst in financial services, consistently supporting local enterprise and business-friendly reforms, before becoming an MP. He launched the Spelthorne Business Plan Competition in 2013 and has been often tipped to become Britain’s first black Tory cabinet minister.
Born in Waltham Forest to Ghanaian parents, Kwarteng won a scholarship to Eton College and read history at Cambridge University, where he was a member of a University Challenge team, winning in 1995.
As a historian, he presented a BBC Radio 4 series on the legacy of the British Empire and has written several books, including Ghost of Empire: War and Gold and Thatcher’s Trial.
Kwarteng has also served as a member of the public accounts committee in the UK and was parliamentary private secretary to the Leader of the House of Lords, Baroness Evans of Bowes Park.
On November 16, 2018, he was appointed Undersecretary of State in the Department for Exiting the European Union following the resignation of Sue-Ellen Braverman