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As Angolans Go To Polls, Here Are 10 Presidents With The Longest Terms In Africa!!

Angolan President José Eduardo Dos Santos, who has been in power since 1979, is not a candidate in the presidential election, which means he will lose his place as the second president with the longest term in Africa.

The continent is full of several Heads of State who have been in office for more than two decades or more. AfrikMag presents a summary of African leaders who have broken records of longevity in power.

More than 30 years

Obiang Nguema (Equatorial Guinea, 38 years old)

Obiang is the oldest African leader who took power following a coup on August 3, 1979, ousting his own uncle, Francisco Macias Nguema, who was shot by a platoon. He was re-elected in 2016 for a fifth seven-year term.

Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe, 37)


The President of Zimbabwe is the oldest Head of State in the world. It has been in power since 1980, the year of independence.

Paul Biya (Cameroon, 35 years old)

He became President on November 6, 1982, having served seven years as Prime Minister.

Denis Sassou Nguesso (Congo, 33 years old)

He was President of the Congo from 1979 to 1992, then returned in 1997 after the end of a civil war. Sassou Nguesso was re-elected in March 2016 and could run for another term.

Yoweri Museveni (Uganda, 31)

Yoweri Museveni has been in power for over 31 years. He took office in January 1986 after winning the war that ousted Idi Amin Dada, with the help of Tanzania. He was elected for a fifth term in February 2016.

King Mswati III (Swaziland, 31 years old)

He is the last absolute monarch of Africa and has been in power for over 31 years. He acceded to the throne of the small southern kingdom in April 1986.

More than 20 years

Omar el-Bechir (Sudan, 28 years)

He became President in June 1989 after organizing a successful coup.

Idriss Deby (Chad, 27 years old)

After becoming President of Chad in December 1990, Deby was re-elected for a fifth term in April 2016.

Isaias Afewerki (Eritrea, 24)

Isaias Afewerki has been in power since 1993.

The all-time record

The record of longevity in power in Africa is held by the Ethiopian emperor Haile Selassie, ousted in 1974 after a reign of 44 years.

Muammar Gaddafi led Libya with an iron hand for nearly 42 years. He was assassinated on 20 October 2011 following an armed conflict.

Omar Bongo Ondimba of Gabon died in June 2009 after more than 41 years in power.


Written by How Africa

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