UGANDANS have headed to the polls today January 14, 2021 for an election in which President Yoweri Museveni is seeking to extend his 34-year rule by another five years.
Below is a list of the 10 African leaders in power the longest.
* EQUATORIAL GUINEA – Teodoro Obiang – 41 years 5 months (Aug. 3 1979 – present).
Obiang, 78, seized power from his uncle in a coup. While opposition parties were legalised in 1992, Obiang’s Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea dominates. He has won over 90% of votes at every election, some of which the opposition boycotted.
* CAMEROON – Paul Biya – 38 years 2 months
(Nov. 6 1982 – present)
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.
* CONGO REPUBLIC – Denis Sassou Nguesso – 36 years 9 months
(Feb. 8 1979 – Aug. 31 1992; Oct. 25 1997 – present)
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.
* UGANDA – Yoweri Museveni – 34 years 11 months
(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.
* eSWATINI – King Mswati III – 34 years 8 months
(April 25 1986 – present)
Absolute monarch, Mswati, 52, was crowned in April 1986. Political parties have been banned in eSwatini, previously known as Swaziland, since 1973.
* CHAD – Idriss Deby – 30 years 1 month
(Dec. 2 1990 – present)
Deby, 68, took power at the head of an armed rebellion. Two-term limits were abolished in 2005 and reimposed in 2018. The move will not be applied retroactively, meaning Deby could serve two five-year terms after the next election in 2021.
* ERITREA – Isaias Afwerki – 27 years 7 months
(May 19 1993 – present)
Afwerki, 74, has ruled since Eritrea’s independence from Ethiopia. There have never been national elections in Eritrea, which rights groups consider to be one of the most repressive states in the world.
* DJIBOUTI – Ismail Omar Guelleh – 21 years 8 months
(May 8 1999 – present)
Guelleh, 73, was picked to succeed his uncle, independence leader Hassan Gouled Aptidon. He won a fourth five-year term in 2016 and is expected to seek another term this year.
* MOROCCO – King Mohammed VI – 21 years 5 months
(July 23 1999 – present)
Mohammed VI, 57, was crowned when his father, Hassan II, died of a heart attack. The Moroccan royal family has reigned since 1631, making it the Muslim world’s oldest dynasty.
* RWANDA – Paul Kagame – 20 years 8 months
(April 22 2000 – present)
Kagame, 63, was widely seen as the de facto leader of Rwanda after his rebel army ended the 1994 genocide. He was elected president by parliament in 2000. The constitution was changed in 2015 to let him seek a third seven-year term in 2017 and two more five-year terms, meaning he could stay in power until 2034.