Role Women Played In The Political Administration Of Kanem Borno


Women also played a very important role in the political administration of Kanem Borno Empire. These women were the Magira (Queen mother), the Magara (the king’s official elder sister) and then the Gumsu (the first wife of the Mai).

To show the ability as well as the level of power and authority exercised by these women, there is an illustrative of an incidence of Magira Aisha, who was such a remarkable woman that by her determination and political skill shielded Idris Alooma from the plot to kill him by Dunama Abdullah, when he was still a youngster just after his father’s death.

Magira Aisha acted as a regent for ten years during which time she governed wisely and trained Idris Alooma in the duties of Islam and kingship till he was of age to ascend the throne. To shield him from the intrigues and vices of the court she brought him up in the new and beautiful Gambaru palace built a safe distance away from Ngazagarmu.

There women also on a certain occasions, served as a check on the Mai in the event that the king was becoming despotic in his administration activities. That also leads to the incidence in which one of the Magira in Kanem Borno ordered a Mai to be kept in a seclusion within this palace on account of the high highhandedness of the king that was threatening the political stability of the Empire. This action saved the Empire from political crises and helped the Mai to redefine his priorities and improve on his administrative skills.

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