Africa’s 10 longest serving leadersJambonews | Category: News analysis
Feb 17 (Reuters) – Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni is expected to win a fourth term in a tight election on Feb. 18, which could extend his time in office to 30 years.
Here are details on the top 10 longest-serving leaders in the Africa:
LIBYA – Muammar Gaddafi (68**) – 41 YEARS 5 MONTHS
Gaddafi seized power in a bloodless military coup in Sept. 1969. Gaddafi has been able to maintain power for over 40 years by putting himself at the centre of the overlapping networks of interest groups — tribes, influential families, the military and the revolutionary committees — which hold power in Libya. Analysts have said he uses patronage, handing out shares in the country’s oil wealth to ensure loyalty, and uses his political guile to play one group off against another. On Thursday Gaddafi supporters gathered in Tripoli to counteract online calls for an anti-government “day of rage” inspired by the uprisings in Egypt and Tunisia.
EQUATORIAL GUINEA – President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (68) – 31 YEARS 6 MONTHS
Obiang toppled his uncle Macias in a palace coup in Aug. 1979. A new constitution was adopted to usher in multi-party politics, nominally at least, in 1991. Human Rights Watch in Jan. 2011 reported flaws in the latest presidential polls in 2009, in which Obiang won 95.4 percent of the ballot. The authorities thwarted a coup bid in 2004 by a former British special forces officer, Simon Mann.
ANGOLA – President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos (68) - 31 YEARS 5 MONTHS
Dos Santos assumed the presidency of the mineral-rich country in Sept. 1979, four years into a civil war with UNITA rebels that ended in 2002. The MPLA’s landslide 2008 victory left rivals in tatters, letting dos Santos change the constitution and boost his powers. A new charter has enabled the veteran ruler, who is widely expected to win 2012 elections, to remain in power until 2022 although there is speculation he will retire before then.
ZIMBABWE – President Robert Mugabe (86) – 30 YEARS 9 MONTHS
Mugabe became Zimbabwe’s prime minister in April 1980 after independence elections. The former Marxist guerrilla became president in 1987 and has held fast to power. Mugabe, 87 on Feb. 24, and Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change were forced into a coalition government two years ago after a disputed poll in 2008 which led to mass violence, a flood of refugees into South Africa and a deeper economic crisis in the resource-rich state.
CAMEROON – President Paul Biya (78) – 28 YEARS 3 MONTHS
Biya took over in Nov. 1982 from President Ahmadou Ahidjo and won re-election for another seven-year term in October 2004. The central African oil producer is due to schedule a new poll later this year and Biya is expected to seek another term.
CONGO REPUBLIC – President Denis Sassou Nguesso (67) - 26 YEARS 11 MONTHS
Sassou Nguesso has been in power all bar five of the last 32 years. He seized power in a Feb. 1979 coup but then lost the country’s first multi-party elections in 1992 to scientist Pascal Lissouba. He regained the presidency in 1997 after a civil war and was re-elected in 2004 for a further seven-year term.
UGANDA – President Yoweri Museveni (67**) – 25 YEARS
Museveni declared himself president in Jan. 1986 when he seized Kampala after a five-year guerrilla struggle. Museveni banned multi-party politics shortly afterwards but re-introduced it in 1996. Museveni is expected to win a fourth term in 2011 despite a strong challenge from third-time opponent Kizza Besigye.
SWAZILAND – King Mswati III (42) – 24 YEARS 9 MONTHS
King Mswati is sub-Saharan Africa’s last absolute monarch and was crowned in April 1987. Political parties have been banned in landlocked Swaziland since 1973. The king introduced a new constitution in 2006, but the ban on political parties remained. Mswati is frequently criticised by human rights groups as a dictator who runs the country as his own personal fiefdom.
BURKINA FASO – Blaise Campaore (60) – 23 YEARS 4 MONTHS
Blaise Campaore became head of state after deposing his predecessor, Thomas Sankara, in a coup in Oct. 1987. Campaore has widespread popular support and won a landslide victory in presidential polls in Nov. 2005, taking 80 percent of the vote. A new law from 2005 prohibited presidents from standing for more than two terms but the Constitutional Court ruled the law could not be applied retroactively, clearing the way for Compaore’s re-election in Nov. 2010 when he again won with 80 percent of the vote.
SUDAN – Omar Hassan al-Bashir (67) – 21 YEARS 7 MONTHS
In June 1989, Bashir overthrew the democratically elected civilian government of former Prime Minister Sadeq al-Mahdi and he appointed himself civilian president in 1993. He won his last elections in 2010. In March 2009, the International Criminal Court issued an arrest warrant for Bashir — the first for a sitting head of state — for masterminding a campaign of genocide in Darfur, where the United Nations said that 300,000 people have been killed in the long-running conflict. Bashir put the death toll at 10,000 people. Bashir has refused to recognise the ICC and continued to travel, despite the arrest warrants. His defiance gained him support in Sudan, especially in the Muslim north where many are suspicious of the West. Last month, around 99 percent of southerners voted to separate from the north of Sudan in a referendum held under a 2005 peace deal which ended decades of north-south civil war.
NOTE: **Age not precisely known.
Source : Reuters