IRON LADY| Meet The Only African Leader Who Refused To Attend Queen Elizabeth’s Funeral In A Bus
Last week, the whole of Africa felt belittled after seeing their leaders in a bus en route to the late Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral at Westminster Abbey.
Following the death of Britain’s longest monarch, foreign dignitaries, including African presidents, made their way to the funeral to pay their last respects at the global event.
Global leaders were ordered to give up their diplomatic cars and, instead, share transport with their fellow Presidents, Prime Ministers, Kings and Sheikhs as part of plans organised by the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) to enable safe travel to the Queen’s funeral.
US President Joe Biden was allowed to attend the funeral in his armour-plated “Beast”, much to the anger of Africans online. This spurred up racist sentiments as netizens echoed that their African leaders were being humiliated.
Only one President refused to be “disparaged” like that and stood her ground.
President Sahle-Work Zewde of Ethiopia refused to be loaded into a bus, an anomaly that has not happened anywhere.
Africa Archive reports that when requested to get on the bus, she vehemently stood her ground in refusal. She said:
“I won’t go like this. I need the same level of respect as others. This has many implications I have my own Embassy’s cars for the protocol.”
The British authorities could not convince her otherwise as she was non-commital, and they had to let her attend Queen Elizabeth II’s funeral with her own Embassy cars.
Africans on Twitter reacted with mixed emotions to this.
At least one of our leaders knows her worth✌️
Put some respect on this woman’s name, please. An icon who knows her worth.👏🔥
I wish Gaddafi were alive to show them some class.
If she really wants the level of respect or I don’t know what, she wouldn’t have been at a coloniser’s funeral in the first place.
Sahle-Work Zewde. became President and the first woman President of Ethiopia on 25 October 2018. She has been in politics since 1988.
Prior to her election as president, Zewde served as under-secretary-general of the United Nations to the African Union in 2018 and director-general of the United Nations Office at Nairobi from 2011 to 2018.
From 1989 to 2008, she served as the Ethiopian ambassador to several countries, including Senegal, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, The Gambia, Guinea and France.
Zewde was born on February 21, 1950, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopian Empire (now Ethiopia). She graduated from the University of Montpellier with a degree in natural sciences.