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Here are four of Africa’s longest serving Presidents

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Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi
Isaac Kaledzi is an experienced and award winning journalist from Ghana. He has worked for several media brands both in Ghana and on the International scene. Isaac Kaledzi is currently serving as an African Correspondent for DW.

Africa over the years has been known for its leaders who refuse to leave power even when it is glaring that they were no longer needed.

Some of them hold on to power attributing it to the desire of citizens who still want them to continue to serve.

Many of these leaders oversee elections considered by analysts as not free and fair, lacking transparency.

Opponents of many of these long serving leaders are either brutalized and subjected to inhumane treatments to get them to give up contesting.

Some of these long serving leaders ultimately get humiliated in the long-run by being forced out of power.

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But four of these long serving leaders still remain in power and even want to extend their stay.

Here are the four longest serving presidents in Africa:

1. Teodoro Obiang Nguema

Teodoro Obiang Nguema is Africa’s longest serving president alive, coming into power in 1979.

He has been the second president of Equatorial Guinea since August 1979 when he ousted his uncle, Francisco Macías Nguema, in a military coup.

President Teodoro Obiang Nguema is Africa’s longest serving leader. Photo: Getty Images

Nguema has since then overseen Equatorial Guinea’s emergence as an important oil producer, beginning in the 1990s.

The 78 year old is the second longest consecutively serving current non-royal national leader in the world.


2. Paul Biya

Paul Biya has been serving as president of Cameroon since 1982. He first served as Secretary-General of the Presidency from 1968 to 1975 and then as Prime Minister of Cameroon from 1975 to 1982.

He succeeded former President Ahmadou Ahidjo as president when he surprisingly resigned in 1982.

Paul Biya
Cameroonian President Paul Biya. FILE PHOTO | ISSOUF SANOGO | AFP

Biya who is 87 years has since then consolidated power in a 1983–1984 staged attempted coup in which he eliminated all his rivals.

President Biya has superintendent over a deteriorating crisis in Cameroon’s English-speaking region, a conflict that has led to the death of thousands and millions fleeing.


3. Denis Sassou Nguesso

Denis Sassou Nguesso is the President of the Republic of the Congo, a position he has held since 1997.

He previously served as president from 1979 to 1992. He was defeated in a presidential election in 1992.

Sassou Nguesso
Congo’s President Denis Sassou Nguesso REUTERS/Anis Mili

Nguesso who is 77 years was an opposition leader for five years and then came back to power during the Second Civil War (1997–1999) when his rebel forces ousted President Pascal Lissouba.

He has since been in power, winning all presidential elections held since 2002.


4. Yoweri Museveni

Museveni has been President of Uganda since 1986 when he got involved in rebellions that toppled Ugandan leaders Idi Amin and Milton Obote.

He captured power since then and has solidified his hold of it, not letting go and is set to serve in power beyond four decades after winning the 2021 presidential election.

In the 2021 presidential election Museveni who is 76 years beat a younger candidate, the musician-turned politician, Bobi Wine.

Yoweri Museveni in jungle
Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni

Museveni got the constitution changed to remove the age limit so he can contest once more.

It is not certain if the 2021 presidential election will be his last or just another tenure in his presidency.





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