The top seven Longest-serving presidents in Africa continent has been revealed.
It is no secret that the continent of Africa is home to many of the world’s longest-ruling Heads of State.
They have held onto power for many years and show no signs of stepping down anytime soon.
This practice of holding on to power for longer terms which runs through several years perhaps 20, 30 or even 40 has sparked concerns.
The record-breaker is Emperor Haile Selassie of Ethiopia, who ruled for 44 years before being overthrown in 1974.
Libyan strongman Moamer Kadhafi held sway for almost 42 years. He was killed in 2011 as protests against his rule mushroomed into armed conflict.
Gabon’s Omar Bongo Ondimba had been at the helm for 41 years when he died in June 2009.
Angolan leader Jose Eduardo dos Santos stepped down in September 2017 after 38 years in charge. Never democratically elected, the former Marxist rebel died in July 2022 at 79.
Former Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who died in September 2019 almost two years after being forced to step down, held office for more than 37 years.
In Sudan, Omar al-Bashir, who came to power in a coup in June 1989, remained in charge for 30 years until the military overthrew him in 2019.
In Chad, Idriss Deby Itno ruled for 30 years from December 1990 until his death in April 2021. He was succeeded by his son, General Mahamat Idriss Deby Itno.
SEE LIST BELOW:
1. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (44 years)
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea has been in power since 1979, making him the longest-serving African president. In the early years of his rule, President Obiang was known for being a brutal dictator. He oversaw a government responsible for the torture and killings of political opponents.
In the past few years, President Obiang has come under fire from human rights groups for his continued repression of the people of Equatorial Guinea.
2. Paul Biya (42 years)
Cameroon’s Paul Biya reign is not ending anytime soon.
President Biya, who came to power in a coup d’etat in 1982, has ruled the country ever since. In the early years of his rule, he was known for being a repressive leader.
In the 1990s, he loosened his grip on the country and allowed multiparty elections. However, he has remained in power ever since.
President Biya has had his fair share of trouble with human rights groups for his continued repression of the people of Cameroon.
3. Denis Sassou (36 years)
Denis Sassou has been the president of the Republic of the Congo for 36 years. He first came to power in 1979 and has since been re-elected three times. Sassou is currently among the oldest heads of state in Africa, at 80.
His over three decades in power have attracted criticism and allegations, from corruption to poor governance and human rights violations. However, to him, that has never been any reason enough to call it quits.
4. King Mswati III (36-year rule)
Eswatini, Africa’s last remaining absolute monarchy, has been ruled by King Mswati III for 36 years. He ascended to the throne in April 1986 aged just 18
5. Yoweri Museveni (35 years)
Yoweri Museveni has been the president of Uganda for 35 years. He first came to power in 1986 and has since been re-elected three times. Museveni is the third oldest head of state in Africa, at 79.
Critics say Museveni has become increasingly authoritarian over the years, stifling dissent and curtailing civil liberties.
In recent years, there have been calls for term limits in Uganda, but Museveni has resisted these efforts. In 2017, he amended the constitution to remove the president’s age limit, effectively allowing him to stay in power for life.
6. Isaias Afwerki (30 years)
Isaias Afwerki has been the president of Eritrea for 30 years. He first came to power in 1993 after leading the country’s independence movement from Ethiopia. Afwerki has since been re-elected twice.
Eritrea is also one of the world’s most militarised countries, with all able-bodied citizens required to serve in the military. This has led to a mass exodus of Eritreans, with many fleeing the country for safety and opportunity elsewhere.
7. Paul Kagame (23 years)
Rwanda’s leader, Paul Kagame is standing for re-election in 2024. He has been in power since 2000.