Africa’s longest serving Presidents
Uganda President Yoweri Museveni was earlier this week sworn in to serve his sixth-elective five-year term.
Should he complete this tenure, the 76-year old will have ruled the East African country for four decades.
But the former guerrilla leader isn’t the longest-serving African president. So who is?
1. Tedoro Obiang (Equatorial Guinea) – Has been at the helm for 41 years since seizing power from his – wait for this – Uncle in a coup in 1979. What’s more, the 79-year old appears popular. He has won over 90% at every election he’s contested in, some of which was boycotted by the opposition.
2. Paul Biya (Cameroon) – The 87-year old is not so far behind. He replaced Ahmadoue Ahidjo in 1982, and has since ruled for 39 years after successfully abolishing term limits for the presidency in 2008.
3. Denis Sasou Nguesso (Republic of Congo) – The 77-year old settles for bronze in this race. He took over the instruments of power in 1979 before losing in the country’s first multi-party elections in 1992. Only to regain power in 1997 in the wake of a civil war, then change the constitution in 2015 to let himself stand for re-election the following year.
4. Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) – Cheekily referred to as Sevo or Himselfu in Kenyan circles, Museveni has ruled Uganda for 35 years since he shot his way into State House. In this period, he’s managed to alter the constitution on two different occasions, and removed the term and age limits so as to allow his stay in power a smooth extension.
5. King Mswati III (Eswatini) – Has ruled the country, previously referred to as Swaziland, for 34 years while managing to ban political parties along the way.
6. Idriss Deby (Chad) – Ther 68-year old currently enjoys a three-decade stint as President, having managed to abolish term limits in 2005 and then re-imposs them in 2018.
7. Isaias Afwerki – The 74-year old has ruled for 27 years. In other words, the country has not known another leader since attaining independence from Ethiopia. And here is where it gets interesting There have never been national elections in Eritrea, a situation rights groups consider to be one of the most repressive in the democratic world.
8. Ismail Omar Guelleh – He has ruled for 22 years since he was picked to replace his uncle come independence leader Hassan Gouled Aptidon.
He won a fourth five-year term in 2016 and is expected to seek another term in 2021.
9. King Mohammed VI (Morocco) – Has ruled for 21 years since his father Hassan II died of a heart attack. He is part of the Moroccan royal family that has ruled the country since 1631.
10. Paul Kagame (Rwanda) – Ruled the tiny East African nation for two decades. He is widely recognized as the country’s defacto leaders and just like some of his colleagues on this list, recently changed the country’s constitution to extend his stay in power.