Meet the 2 oldest heads of state in Africa

1. Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe

Robert Mugabe turns 91 last february, but the real milestone for the Zimbabwean leader came last summer. When Shimon Peres stepped down as Israel’s president last July, Mugabe assumed the mantle of the world’s oldest head of state.

Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe was born on February 21, 1924, in Kutama, Southern Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe). In 1963, he founded ZANU, a resistance movement against British colonial rule. In 1980, when British rule ended, Mugabe became prime minister of the new Republic of Zimbabwe. In 1987, he was elected president of Zimbabwe. Since 2008, Mugabe has shared power with Morgan Tsvangirai

2. Paul Biya, Cameroon

One of the longest serving elected heads of state in the world (however manipulated those elections have been), Biya is 82 has already done 33 years in the job and is set to stay in power for at least another five years.

Paul Biya, the president of Cameroon.


Paul Biya (born Paul Barthélemy Biya’a bi Mvondo, 13 February 1933) is a Cameroonian politician who has been thePresident of Cameroon since 6 November 1982.[1][2] A native of Cameroon’s south, Biya rose rapidly as a bureaucrat under President Ahmadou Ahidjo in the 1960s, serving as Secretary-General of the Presidency from 1968 to 1975 and then as Prime Minister of Cameroon from 1975 to 1982. He succeeded Ahidjo as President upon the latter’s surprise resignation in 1982 and consolidated power in a 1983–1984 power struggle with his predecessor.

Biya introduced political reforms within the context of a single-party system in the 1980s. Under pressure, he accepted the introduction of multiparty politics in the early 1990s. He narrowly won the 1992 presidential election with 40% of the plural, single-ballot vote and was re-elected by large margins in 1997, 2004, and 2011. Opposition politicians and Western governments have alleged voting irregularities and fraud on each of these occasions.

Biya has maintained Cameroon’s close relationship with France, Cameroon’s former colonial ruler.


Written by PH

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