With Democracy sweeping across the world, most African nations are immune from that and lection seasons are still fraught with violence. Here are seven of the longest-serving African Presidents.
Paul Biya – Cameroun (46 years)
Born on February 13, 1933, from 1975 to 1982, he served as Cameroon’s first prime minister. Later, he succeeded Ahidjo to become the president of Cameroon. Election irregularities were a glaring blemish on his reign. Due to pressure from both the domestic opposition and western-based foreign investors in the 1980s, Biya was forced to enact multiparty democracy in the nation. However, subsequent election irregularities were all planned to support Biya’s continued rule, the majority of opposition leaders have had to submit to pressure out of fear of his authoritarian rule. The oldest president in Africa and the non-royal leader with the longest tenure is Biya. He also just celebrated his anniversary as President.
Teodoro Obiang Nguema – Equitorial Guinea (42 years)
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has held the presidency of Equatorial Guinea since ousting his uncle from office in 1979. In addition to being the president of Equatorial Guinea, between January 31, 2011, and January 29, 2012, he held the position of African Union chairman in an acting capacity.
Dennis Sassou – Republic of Congo (43 years)
One of Africa’s presidents with the longest terms is Denis Sassou. He has served as the Republic of the Congo’s president since he took office in 1979 and has subsequently won three more elections. At 79, Sassou is one of Africa’s senior-most heads of state.
During his tenure in power, Sassou was charged with corruption and violating human rights. He was one of the wealthiest presidents in Africa in 2016, according to estimates of his personal fortune, which was estimated to be over $600 million.
Yoweri Museveni – Uganda (37 years)
Following the overthrow of the infamous Idi Amin (1971–1979) and Milton Obote governments, Museveni is now the president of Uganda (1980-1985). It was Museveni’s turn to hold the reins of the Ugandan government after actively taking part in the uprisings that led to the overthrow of these two leaders. Uganda’s economy grew fast under Museveni but the country still remains under authoritarian rule. Museveni amended the constitution to remove presidential age limits so he can stay in power for life.
Isaias Afwerki – Eritrea (31 years)
Since Eritrea’s independence in 1991, Isaias has served as the nation’s sole and only president. Isaias assumed power as the head of state and the country’s first president after 30 years of struggle to regain liberation through the Eritrea People’s Liberation Front (EPLF). He is the leader of the People’s Front for Democracy and Justice, the sole political party in Eritrea (PFDJ). His brand of totalitarian rule has been marked by a number of atrocities, including restrictions on press freedom and human rights abuses. His administration has been rated by the UN as undermining freedom of speech and citizens’ rights, and Amnesty International has consistently ranked Eritrea last in the world for press freedom.
Eritrea is also highly militarized as citizen must undergo compulsory military service.
Paul Kagame – Rwanda (22 years)
Paul Kagame is the serving President of Rwanda, he gained authority while serving as vice president from 1994 to 2000, during which time he was regarded as the de facto ruler. He was one of the most powerful individuals in the government during this time because he also served as the defense minister. Following the resignation of President Pasteur Bizumungu in 2000, Kagame ascended to power without any opposition in sight. Kagame won re-election to office in August 2017 with a staggering 99% victory over the next candidate. But his handling of the election has not gone without criticism. High praise from the populace as well as from people around the globe has characterized his reign. He has been referred to as one of the most capable and impressive presidents in Africa