Victoria Kawesa at the 2014 elections.
Victoria Kawesa at the 2014 parliamentary elections. Credit: MAJA SUSLIN / TT

Feminist Initiative co-leader resigns

Victoria Kawesa: I'm proud to have been Sweden's first black party leader
1:25 min

Victoria Kawesa has resigned from her post as co-leader of the Feminist Initiative, a minor political party on the left. She was Sweden’s first black party leader.

Kawesa told Swedish Radio News that she needed to re-evaluate how she's spending her time. “It’s because of my circumstances,” she said. “I’m a single mother of two, a school counselor and I’m writing a dissertation, at the same time as being party leader.”

The politician and activist came to Sweden from Uganda as a refugee at the age of nine, and grew up in the Stockholm suburbs of Tensta and Husby. Elected as leader of the Feminist Initiative this March, she campaigned for women’s and refugee rights.

This April, she was accused of plagiarism in a presentation she gave at Linköping University. She denies having committed a crime but has issued an apology and published a correction. Preliminary criminal investigations are ongoing. She told Swedish Radio that the plagiarism allegation had nothing to do with her decision to resign.

I feel as though I’ve reached the peak of my party political career. I haven’t got anything left to give. But I’m proud of my work during this time, and to have been Sweden’s first black party leader.

At the beginning of her tenure at the helm, she told Stockholm local radio that she had received an increasing number of threats and abusive messages.

Now, Gudrun Schyman will continue as the sole leader of the Feminist Initiative, until the party congress next February.

Our journalism is based on credibility and impartiality. Swedish Radio is independent and not affiliated to any political, religious, financial, public or private interests.
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