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10 of Africa’s longest-ruling current leaders

WORLD
By Reuters | April 8th 2021
From left to right: Teodoro Obiang of Equatorial Guinea, Paul Kagame of Rwanda and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda are among African leaders who have been in power for tens of years. [Courtesy]

The following are the current 10 African leaders in power the longest.

EQUATORIAL GUINEA - Teodoro Obiang - more than 41 years

(Aug. 3, 1979 - present)

Obiang, now 78, seized power from his uncle in a coup. While opposition parties were legalised in 1992, Obiang’s Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea dominates. He has won over 90% of votes at every election, some of which the opposition boycotted.

CAMEROON - Paul Biya - more than 38 years

(Nov. 6, 1982 - present)

Biya took over in 1982 from President Ahmadou Ahidjo after serving as prime minister for seven years. Biya, 88, has won five multi-party elections since 1992. The opposition has called the results fraudulent. Two-term limits were abolished in 2008.

CONGO REPUBLIC - Denis Sassou Nguesso - 38 years

(Feb. 8, 1979 - Aug. 31, 1992; Oct. 25, 1997 - present)

Sassou, 77, assumed office in 1979 before losing the country’s first multi-party elections in 1992. He regained power in 1997 after a civil war and changed the constitution in 2015 to let himself stand for re-election the following year. He was declared the winner of a March 21, 2021 election.

UGANDA - Yoweri Museveni - more than 35 years

(Jan. 29, 1986 - present)

Born on September 15, 1944, he has been in power since 1986. Museveni was involved in rebellions that overthrew Ugandan leaders Idi Amin (1971–79) and Milton Obote (1980–85) before he shot his way into power in 1986.

Eswatini - King Mswati III - almost 35 years

(April 25 1986 - present)

An absolute monarch, Mswati, now 52, was crowned in April 1986. Political parties have been banned in eSwatini, previously known as Swaziland, since 1973.

CHAD - Idriss Deby - more than 30 years

(Dec. 2, 1990 - present)

Deby took power at the head of an armed rebellion. Two-term limits were abolished in 2005 and reimposed in 2018. The move will not be applied retroactively, meaning Deby, 68, could serve two six-year terms after the 2021 election.

ERITREA - Isaias Afwerki - almost 28 years

(May 19, 1993 - present)

Afwerki, 75, has ruled since Eritrea’s independence from Ethiopia. There have never been national elections in Eritrea, which rights groups consider to be one of the most repressive states in the world.

DJIBOUTI - Ismail Omar Guelleh - almost 22 years

(May 8, 1999 - present)

Guelleh, now 73, was picked to succeed his uncle, independence leader Hassan Gouled Aptidon. He won a fourth five-year term in 2016 and will seek re-election this month.

MOROCCO - King Mohammed VI - more than 21 years

(July 23, 1999 - present)

Mohammed VI, 57, was crowned when his father, Hassan II, died of a heart attack. The Moroccan royal family has reigned since 1631, making it the Muslim world’s oldest dynasty.

RWANDA - Paul Kagame - almost 21 years

(April 22, 2000 - present)

Kagame, 63, was widely seen as the de facto leader of Rwanda after his rebel army ended the 1994 genocide. He was elected president by parliament in 2000. The constitution was changed in 2015 to let him seek a third seven-year term in 2017 and two more five-year terms, meaning he could stay in power until 2034.

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