Africa has witnessed over-extended leadership rules under political leaders who have refused to step down. The leaders keep extending their tenure by changing the laws, contesting again, or giving no room for others to lead.
Chad has been in the news recently as the late President Idriss Deby was re-elected on Monday for the sixth time, extending his 30 year rule.
Here is the list of Africa’s Longest-Serving Leaders
Idriss Deby (Dec. 2 1990 – April 20, 2021)
Chad’s long-ruling President Idriss Deby Itno was re-elected to a sixth term with 79.32 percent of the votes cast on April 11’s election, according to provisional results from the electoral commission on Monday.
After more than three decades in power, the victory of 68-year-old Deby was never in serious doubt after a campaign in which he faced a divided opposition lacking a major rival candidate, and demonstrations were banned or dispersed.
After his death, Derby’s son was announced on Wednesday as the ruler of Chad
Teodoro Obiang Nguema (Aug. 3 1979 – present)
Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema is Africa’s longest-serving leader, still in power after 41 years. He deposed his uncle in a 1979 coup, and became “the country’s god” with “all power over men and things”, state radio said.
Obiang, the world’s most enduring non-royal head of state, was last re-elected in 2016.
Paul Biya (Nov. 6 1982 – present)
Cameroonian President Paul Biya has been in office for more than 38 years. He was re-elected in 2018 for a seventh term.
Biya, 87, took over in 1982 from President Ahmadou Ahidjo after serving as prime minister for seven years. Biya has won five multi-party elections since 1992. The opposition has called the results fraudulent. Two-term limits were abolished in 2008.
Denis Sassou Nguesso (Feb. 8 1979 – Aug. 31 1992; Oct. 25 1997 – present)
36 years 9 months. Sassou Nguesso, 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 re-elected for a fourth term after elections on March 21.
Yoweri Museveni (Jan. 29 1986 – present)
Museveni, 76, became president when his forces seized the capital Kampala after a five-year guerrilla struggle. Museveni has won five elections since 1996. Parliament has twice changed the constitution to allow him to run, first removing a two-term limit in 2005 and then abolishing the age limit of 75 in 2017.
Ethiopia’s late emperor Haile Selassie holds the record for the longest time in power on the African continent. After reigning for 44 years, he was ousted in 1974.
Zimbabwe’s former president Robert Mugabe, who died in 2019, was in power for 37 years.