These seven longest-serving African presidents are proof enough that absolute power corrupts absolutely

Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema.
  • They say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.
  • Some of the world’s longest-serving leaders reside in Sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Here are the seven longest-serving African presidents.

They say power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely.

The saying is especially true in Sub-Saharan Africa where some of the world’s longest-serving leaders reside and continue to extend their rule to date using hooks and crooks.

Here are the seven longest-serving African presidents.

1. Teodoro Obiang Nguema - 39 years

Equatorial Guinea's President Teodoro Obiang Nguema is currently the world's longest-serving president, with 39 years under his belt since he came into power in 1979 after he toppled his uncle.

2. Paul Biya - 36 years

Cameroon's President Paul Biya's re-election in 2018 saw him extend his 36-year rule by seven years, effectively making him one of Africa's longest standing leaders.

The 85-year-old president has been ruling the French West African nation since 1982.

3. Denis Sassou - 34 years

Congo-Brazzaville President Denis Sassou Nguesso has spent 34 years in office, but not in one go.

He first served from 1979 to 1992 and returned in 1997 at the end of a civil war.

He was re-elected again in March 2016 and chances are he could run again when his current term expires.

4. Yoweri Museveni - 33 years

Uganda's President Yoweri Museveni first took office in January 1986 after winning the war that ousted brutal dictator Idi Amin Dada and since then he has been in power.

He was elected to a fifth term in February 2016 and early this year he was cleared to vie for another term by Members of Parliament from Uganda’s ruling party.

A victory at the next election, in 2021, could extend the 74-year-old Museveni’s rule to 40 years.

5. Omar al-Bashir - 30 years

Sudan's President Omar al-Bashir has ruled the vast East African country for 30 years after staging a coup in June 1989.

His tenure might, however, be fast approaching its end.

Omar al-Bashir is currently facing his biggest anti-government protests since he came to power which has seen declared a one-year state of emergency and dissolve the parliament.

Last December, mass protests against his three-decade rule erupted in Khartoum over the country’s spiralling economic woes that have over the past year seen inflation rates spike to the third highest in the world.

6. Idriss Deby - 28 years

Chad's President Idriss Deby took over the northern nation in 1990, giving him nearly 28 years in power.

He won a disputed fifth term in April 2016.

7. Isaias Afwerki - 25 years

Eritreans have not known any other president since the tiny African nation gained independence.

The Eritrean leader Isaias Afwerki has been in power since independence in April 1993, making 25 years.


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