First Lady of the Gambia
Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow
since January 19, 2017
ResidenceState House, Banjul
Inaugural holderKathleen Audrey Paul
FormationFebruary 18, 1965

The First Lady of the Gambia is the official title of the wife of the President or Head of State of The Gambia. Since January 19, 2017, Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow has been First Lady.

Since polygamy (or more precisely polygyny) is legal and widespread in Gambia, several heads of government were married several times. However, only one wife bears the title of First Lady at a time. When he took office in 2017, President Adama Barrow decreed that only his first wife, Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow, would be designated as first lady.[1]

List of first ladies

Parliamentary monarchy (1965–1970)

On February 18, 1965, the former British colony of Gambia gained complete independence as a parliamentary monarchy. The head of state was still the Queen of the Gambia, British Queen Elizabeth II, who was represented in the Gambia by the Governor-General.

The head of government during this period was Dawda Jawara (the prime minister from 1962 to 1963 and prime minister from 1963 to 1970).

Portrait Name Term Began Term Ended Governor-General Notes
Kathleen Audrey Paul
(née Weeden)
(d. 2004)
February 18, 1965 February 9, 1966 Sir John Warburton Paul
It is not known whether Kathleen Paul was called first lady.
Fanta Singhateh
February 9, 1966 April 24, 1970 Sir Farimang Singhateh
Farimang Singhateh was the first Governor-General with Gambian citizenship. His wife Fanta Singhateh was called first lady.[2]

Republic (from 1970)

Portrait Name Term Began Term Ended President or Head of State Notes
Chilel Jawara
(née N'Jie)
(b. circa 1952)
April 24, 1970 July 22, 1994 Dawda Jawara
Dawda Jawara was married to his first wife, Augusta Jawara (1924–1981), from 1955 until their divorce in 1967, before he took office as president. In March 1968, he married Chilel Jawara, his second wife, who became first lady in 1970.[3] In 1970, he married a third wife, Njaimeh Jawara (b. c. 1947), a sister of Lamin Bora M'Boge, who is not referred to as the First Lady.
Tuti Faal
(b. circa 1952)
September 1994
1998 (divorce) Yahya Jammeh
(b. 1965)
Jammeh married his first wife, Tuti Faal, but they divorced in 1998.[4]
Zeinab Jammeh
(née Soumah)
(b. circa 1952)
December 1998
January 19, 2017 Yahya Jammeh In December 1998, Jammeh married Zineb Jammeh.[5] Jammeh later married Alima Sallah, daughter of Gambian diplomat Omar Gibril Sallah, in September or October 2010. However, he publicly announced that Zineb Jammeh remained the official First Lady.[6][7][8]
Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow
(née Bah)
(b. 1974)
January 19, 2017 Present Adama Barrow
(b. 1965)
Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow married Adama Barrow on March 20, 1997. Adama Barrow is also married to a second wife, Sarjo Mballow-Barrow.[1] When he took office in 2017, he decreed that Fatoumatta Bah-Barrow would be the First Lady.[1]


  1. ^ a b c Mbaye, F. (2017-11-30). "Barrow confirms first wife will be country's First Lady". Archived from the original on 2022-05-15. Retrieved 2022-05-15.
  2. ^ Hassoum Ceesay (2007), Gambian women : an introductory history (in German), Fulladu Publishers, p. 109, ISBN 978-2008430003
  3. ^ David Perfect (2016-05-27), Historical Dictionary of The Gambia (in German), Rowman & Littlefield, ISBN 978-1-4422-6526-4, retrieved 2019-09-01
  4. ^ George, Elesha (2001-10-11). "Gambia election: Candidates' profiles". BBC News. Archived from the original on 2020-09-03. Retrieved 2022-05-15.
  5. ^ "Gambia: President Jammeh Marries 20-Yr-Old Moroccan Girl". Spice News Services. 1998-12-21. Archived from the original on 2019-08-31. Retrieved 2022-05-15.
  6. ^ "Gambia: President Jammeh Marries Second Wife". The Daily Observer. 2010-10-04. Archived from the original on 2010-11-05. Retrieved 2022-05-15.
  7. ^ "Gambia: Dictator Jammeh's Former Wife Alima Sallah Finally Returns Home!". Freedom Newspaper. 2017-05-30. Archived from the original on 2021-12-06. Retrieved 2022-05-15.
  8. ^ Falae, Vivian (2017-12-07). "Who are all Yahya Jammeh wives?". Archived from the original on 2019-08-30. Retrieved 2022-05-15.