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Who among the seven longest serving African leaders will be deposed next?
By Raphael Banda OCTOBER 21, 2011
By Isaac Esipisu
Several African leaders watching news of the death of Africa ’s longest serving leader are wondering who among them is next and how they will leave office.
Three of the ten longest serving leaders have fallen this year – Ben Ali of Tunisia ruled for 23 years, Hosni Mubarak of Egypt ruled for 30 years and the longest, the Brother Leader of Libya ruled for 42 years – all gone in the last six months.
Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea (32), Jose Santos of Angola (32), Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (31), Paul Biya of Cameroon (29) and Yoweri Museveni of Uganda (25), King Mswati III of Swaziland (24), Blaise Campore of Burkina Fasso (24) and still going strong, and must be wondering whose turn is next.
Teodoro and Jose Santos take the number one spot as the longest serving Presidents with 32 years of ruling Equatorial Guinea and Angola respectively and from what has happened in Africa this year and to Gaddafi this week, it is a post neither of them would be proud off right now.
Although the revolts have so far been limited to North Africa, increasingly there are protests against regimes in other African countries. Whether triggered by economic conditions—food and fuel prices, poor job opportunities or service delivery failures, the mass protests are becoming important and have forced policy changes. Slowly but surely, these revolutions are heading south and, unless Africa ’s long-serving leaders pave the way for inclusive governance and relinquish their power, they are increasingly likely to face the same fate as the North African ones.
Despite the reign of democratic governance in Africa , some leaders have clutched to political power for decades, using state instruments to prolong their regimes against constitution provisions.
Unfortunately, when the leaders manipulate and abuse their positions to stay in power, they still find support from Western governments even though democratic governance is supposed to be the core of their engagement with African nations. This is not only hypocritical but is also sends the wrong signal to Africans across the region.
However, the recent events in Egypt , Tunisia and Libya should show sub-Saharan African leaders that Western government support will not insulate autocratic regimes from the demands of their people. For the long-serving leaders in Africa , clinging to power is no longer wise. They would be well-advised to announce their intention to step down before they are forced out of leadership by their citizens. Likewise, treating leadership as a “right” or as family property is no longer a viable strategy. It will no longer be acceptable to the African people.
Voluntary exit from power is a great contribution to a country and goes a long way to avert the fate that has befallen leaders in North Africa. Rupiah Banda of Zambia is a good example of such a leader who gracefully accepted defeat this year.
Who among the seven will be deposed next and how will they go?
28 comments so far | Comments RSS
OCT 21, 2011
7:33 AM EDT
Your Point about an Exit Strategy which is more than just Le Dauphin is well made. The now departed Muammar Gaddafi was a Classic NO STOP LOSS Trader and the consequences are to be seen. Just compare Ben-Ali whose Wife Leila Trebelsi apparently was the Risk Manager and cut his Position and now he is sunning himself in Riyadh. I think the Image of an Alive and then Dead Gaddafi is set to focus
Posted by AlyKhanSatchu | Report as abusive
OCT 21, 2011
7:40 AM EDT
Continued –
some minds. The Narrative Fallacy was that somehow Mohammed Bouazizi’s Gig was going to stop at the Sahara.
R2P is indeed a very powerful Tool.
The SSA Populations are so young, they are all surfing the c21st via their Mobile Phones and what is required is a Narrowing of the Disconnect between the Rulers and the Ruled.
Survival now depends on Expanding Participation and creating a whole new Dynamic. It requires c21st Political Skills and Antennae.
In some Places, where Food Inflation has topped 50% Year on Year, we are looking at laboratory conditions for a Revolution.
These are interesting times. And remember President Obama just inserted 100 Special Forces to take Joseph Kony ‘off the Battlefield. The Name might be Kony today but it is almost certain, there will be more and the next might well be an Incumbent.
Aly-Khan Satchu
Posted by AlyKhanSatchu | Report as abusive
OCT 23, 2011
6:09 PM EDT
Ethiopia’s Meles Zenawi is at the top of the list to be removed. He has committed Genocide against various Southern Ethnic groups (Anuak, Sidama, Oromo and Ogaden).
Meles Zenawi employees colonial European strategy to maximize conflict between ethnic groups in Ethiopia. Such tactics as providing military training and arms to one group to inflict massive casualties on civilians of another are common practice. This was seen during Genocide of Anuak people. Heavily armed highlanders with assistance from Ethiopian troops killed many Anuak civilians. adens.htm
Similarly, heavily armed Gumuz were assisted by Ethiopian troops in killing many Oromo recently. iopia-persistent-perpetrations-to-mainta in-grip-on-power/
In 2002, Ethiopia carried out massacre of Sidama people at Awassa (Looqe Massacre) enocide-2010-05-14.pdf
By maintain conflict amoung the masses, neither grous have worked coehesively to remove this dictator. However, today the younger generous of Oromo (Qeerroo) are making significant gains to break this cycle. They are from different regions of Oromia and have varying religous backgrounds (Waaqeffanna, Muslim and Christians).
Posted by Fuula | Report as abusive
OCT 24, 2011
9:23 AM EDT
we africans dont care of who is next and how he will go because thats nonsense. but we have hope that one time we shall get out of the hands of babylon and africans will get a chance of understanding for ourselves and control our own affairs without the influence of the whiteman.
Posted by kasobya | Report as abusive
OCT 24, 2011
10:20 AM EDT
I’m not concerned who will fall next as much as who will step up to power after. Hopefully no theocracy…only true democracy.
Posted by orionsbellatrix | Report as abusive
OCT 25, 2011
3:54 AM EDT
Who among the seven longest serving African leaders will be deposed next? Why Africa? are you happt to see Africa in trouble all the times, Why not longest serving European leaders
Posted by kelvinchongo | Report as abusive
OCT 27, 2011
12:43 PM EDT
To address the question of the longest serving European Leaders, these leaders met their fate in the 90′s -
erich honecker, Enver Hoxha, Todor Zhivkov, and others. The other countries in Europe, as well as the Americas generally under democracies (except Cuba), which limit leader terms.
Lastly, I 100% agree with the comment noted
“Africans will get a chance of understanding for ourselves and control our own affairs without the influence of the whiteman.”
The problem is the “whiteman” is paying for aid, food, medicines, and government infrastructure, which in essence relieves the African country and leaders of these burdens, and is the cause of a lot of problems. Hopefully, the “whiteman” will stop this never ending financial aid ($1trillion in free aids meds alone this year), without any progress or gratitude. Africa will look to the Chinese for help and development in the future, and see what happens in the next 10 to 20 years (see if any natural resources remain?).
Posted by Greedisgood | Report as abusive
OCT 27, 2011
1:47 PM EDT
The success of a President is reflected in a peaceful handover of state power.Good deeds during ones presidency which end with a violent change of power is meaningless and you can not be remembered for having contributed to the betterment of the people in your country.Leaders think twice and have an exit strategy that will cause peaceful transition of power
Posted by ugapefo | Report as abusive
NOV 5, 2011
12:13 PM EDT
Many of the above mentioned statements and some of the comments above has got some meaningful truth in it. But the rockfast fact is: African countries should be ruled by governments elected by means of a free and fair and uncorrupted election by uncorrupted nation leaders who have the responsibility to run a country for the people who elected them and not for their own selfish goals to enrich themselves by hook or by crook. To always point fingers to white people or colonialists or what ever name come to their mind when their ruling efforts is all in vain, doesnt hold water it leaked like a perished bucket.
Posted by JC-122333 | Report as abusive
NOV 6, 2011
3:33 PM EST
The more evolved its people, the sooner the dictator of a nation will be deposed. You do the math.
Posted by NoStatusQuo | Report as abusive
NOV 14, 2011
4:40 AM EST
Nice article but it’s not the process of deposing a leader that’s important but rather what remains after the ‘rogue’ leader is gone, who is involved in the deposing process, what are the motives behind the deposition.
Should we even be deposing our leaders in this day and age when there is so much uncertainty? Libyans are now fighting within themselves after they deposed and killed Gaddafi. Every country is unique and the laws of leadership apply differently. At times the ‘rogue’ long serving, power hungry leaders are just the best solution in the political leadership of that particular country.
Posted by shamsabirik | Report as abusive
NOV 15, 2011
2:43 AM EST
It is a British imperial lie to pinpoint “African dictators” as the source of the problem. Currently, the governments of Europe are collapsing left and right. Both Papandreo and Berlusconi have been replaced by technocratic banker’s dictatorships. Instead of propping up the nationalist fascists like Hitler and Mussolini as in the 1930′s, this time the international bankers are inserting bankers to head the governments! Both Monti in Italy and and the new ECB head Draghi are former Goldman Sachs employees or current advisors. The global financial system is exploding in the trans-Atlantic sector, just as economist Lyndon LaRouche forecast and the international bankers– the British empire– are pushing for world war with their puppet Barack Obama. Only by ending the imperial powers centered in London can we defeat the evils of “globalization.” Obama must be removed from office immediately before the 2012 election and then there are real water and rail development projects available for the people of Africa, America and Asia. These have been animated and developed by the LaRouche Political Action Committee. “Regime change” has always been the policy of the British empire, whether in Europe, Africa or the United States. Understand this and we can win against the red coats and destroy the oligarchy forever! After all, who needs an oligarchy once mankind begins a full expedition into nearby space and beyond?
- Summer Shields
One of Six LaRouche Democrats running for U.S. House of Representatives
Posted by summerjustice | Report as abusive
NOV 15, 2011
9:34 AM EST
If Teodoro & Jose Santos are doing a terrible job, then I guess its time for them to go.
I’d rather have the Rwandan leader in for up to 30 years rather then have a corrupt goon.
Posted by Smart123 | Report as abusive
NOV 15, 2011
5:34 PM EST
Is it a question of democracy? A careful leader can pick judges, create laws, etc and be a dictator without breaking the constitution or the law – even our “democratic” leaders fiddle with boundaries, influence media, lie, etc to get re-elected.
Zimbabwe has long been one of the most educated, honest and hard-working peoples, and many other countries have benefitted, including top-quality judges now working in other countries, but that did not save their economy or their politics. Ruthless soldiers can quell even giant demonstrations if a government is hard enough and rules that a demonstration of even 1 million on the street does not overturn an election with 50 million or so participants.
Some strong Western leaders (Mrs Thatcher) get removed from within their parties, not by elections. Many systems, democratic or otherwise, depend on the quality, wisdom, bravery and altruism of the people in power, mostly in politics or army (army was very significant in Tunisia and Egypt), but also in media, legal system, civil society, etc.
Posted by TomMinney | Report as abusive
NOV 16, 2011
2:03 PM EST
“we africans dont care of who is next and how he will go because thats nonsense. but we have hope that one time we shall get out of the hands of babylon and africans will get a chance of understanding for ourselves and control our own affairs without the influence of the whiteman.”
What drivel!! Had it not been for the whiteman the entire African continent, not just the northern part would now be under Arab domination. It was ‘whiteman’ that, at least for a time, slowed down Arab conquest in Africa.
This time i expect the rest of Africa will soon become a colony of CHINA!
Posted by zozimos | Report as abusive
NOV 18, 2011
8:02 AM EST
It is not how much year spent in power, rather how much destruction they made to the people they govern. Is it possible to compare the Central African Bokassa to Gadaffi. Gadaffi was made as if a grave enemy of his people for just killing a small bunch of western men where other African stupid leaders are killing enmass a drove of people bodily and mentaly with the direct aid of the Western themselves, which most african are today succumbed in parallel position to the story of Kenyan novel known as “Kill me Quick”.
Posted by tkas | Report as abusive
NOV 20, 2011
5:21 AM EST
I believe it all started in Kenya with Moi’s exit from power in 2002, ending his 24yr reign of power. This reign has been characterised by so may negative issues such as corruption, dictatorship, endless and massive land grabbing, issues that still haunt us as a country. Thank God that it did reach a time when all kenyans united to say enough is enough, and thank God that Moi accepted his defeat peacefully otherwise it could have all ended up with disatrous consequences.
Posted by Dimitroe | Report as abusive
NOV 21, 2011
8:22 AM EST
Kenya is a very special case, Moi was a good dictator, otherwise we would have killed one another just like the other African nations.
Regarding corruption, I feel that the corrupt money was used to build schools, hospitals, roads, houses…. many also used the money to start their own industries in Kenya itself.
Goldenberg was the works of Moi and his goons, they were trying to frame Pattni for it, the same goes for Anglo-leasing and NOCK…
Yes the land issue in Kenya has been a major problem since Kenyatta’s times in itself.
Nevertheless Kenya has been better off than 50 other African nations.
Posted by Smart123 | Report as abusive
NOV 25, 2011
10:50 AM EST
Meles is a great Leader, the country under his leadership has developed fast, aparently ethiopia is one of the fastest growing economy in the world.
Those who are opposing Meles Zenawi are remnants of the old regime which was ousted in 1991. The military regime has massacred hundreds of thousands of civillians in Ethiopia, the massacre in Hawzen deserves mention here. In 1989 in a broad day light Ethipian airforce has killed close to 2500 civillians in northern Tigray. Those enemies of Tigray/Ethiopia have been ousted by Meles and his EPRDF forces. So those who perperated the heinous crimes against the people of Tigray and Ethiopia are on the run ad the want to see meles leave office, they are mainlt ethnofascists, their hatred to Meles is based on ethnicity and not on some kind of political agenda.
Ethiopia is on the right path, PM Zenawi has already decided to leave office in 2015, he will be remembered as the first Pm who introduced democracy to Ethiopia, he will be remembered as a PM who transformed ethiopian politics and economics. Ethiopia under his leadership is enjoying, peace , stability and economic development.
Welldone Ethiopia.
We the people of Afar/Ethiopia would like to show our support to our PM. He is just the best thing that happened to Ethiopia, I hope we will have a person of his caliber and intelligence in 2015. PM Meles zenawi has made Ethiopia to be one of the strongest economies in Africa, its now the power house of Easter Africa, as of 2010 Ethiopian GDP has become the biggest in Eastern Africa overtaking that of Kenyas and Sudan.
Welldone Meles Zenawi
Posted by Afarman | Report as abusive
NOV 27, 2011
2:09 AM EST
@Smart123 i agree with you,i spent 5 years in Kenya during the Moyi era and i think he was a good dictator but he was very weak on corruption. i strongly disagree with you on dictator Paul Kagame of Rwanda because 90% of the good pr that you read about Kagame and Rwanda in western media,is all misleading propaganda that the Rwandan and American High Tech lobi has been doing in order to cover up the war crime and genocide that the Rwandan goverment has been committing on their behalf in Eastern Congo.Paul Kagame is a war criminal who has been used by High tech companys to Pillage the minerals from eastern congo.i just came from Rwanda and all the so called development that the IMF want you to beleave is going on in Rwanda,is nothing but lies.there is maybe 3 7 stories buildings being build in down town kigali,maybe 2 nice residential neighborhoods all build by blood money from eastern Congo,no modern hospital or airport in the intire country ,no manufacturing or any kind of industries,95%unemployment….if this is the model of development that the imperialist west want for africa they need to think again because we are no longer in the 1920s. for the guy who compared Rwanda to ANGOLA and Equatorial GUINEE,i need you to know that when it comes to development,Rwanda is 60 years behind both Angola and Equatorial Guinee and 60 years behind both KENYA and TANZANIA.
Posted by afro66 | Report as abusive
NOV 28, 2011
8:40 PM EST
@ afro66
If I understand correctly Kagame is an American puppet put in place to ruin Congo for its wealth so that he can deliver it to his ‘masters’??
It would be a real shock if that was true. That basically means that after Kagames rule he shall be finished off by the Americans.
Posted by Smart123 | Report as abusive
DEC 5, 2011
6:47 AM EST
Well if you ask who is the next one to go, I would say Esayas Afwerki (20 & 1/2 years), who tricked the Eritrean people first by asking all political parties who fought to topple Colonel Mengistu Hailemariam to come and build the country; then he imprisoned every one of them. Then he went to fight all neighbouring countries with out success. With no constitution in the country, Esayas made thousands of young Eritreans to flee the country. Some of this young Eritreans have been found in Desert Sainaa killed and their Organs has been stolen from their body. If you do not believe this go to you tube and watch this short documentary film:
Copy the link below and search in the internet (it is so cruel): AY&feature=player_detailpage
And early this year, about 400 Young Eritreans drowned in Mediterranean crossing to Italia. If Eritrea ruled in democracy do you think people would flee from the country, Eritrea is a beautiful country but now we hate to go to Eritrea just b/se Eseyas is ruling the country.
Now already The Eritrean People Revolution started, and hopefully he will go soon. If not by weapon and war, one of the true son of Eritrea will kill him while he is in power inside Eritrea. Keep watching the news! Not too far you will see some thing is happening.
Remember every power will end! and Eseyas if he is smart he should leave the power and give the power to people so they can choose the person they want to choose. And he will be remembered as a true Eritrean otherwise, he will go down soon.
Posted by Hate-Esayas | Report as abusive
DEC 6, 2011
8:07 AM EST
Wow, i am amazed at some of the comments here and in the main article itself, it seems there are people who see Africa as nothing but football pitch, they love to see Africans mauling themselves, they enjoy seeing Africans slaughtering each other, They derive pleasure in the brutality Africans impose on one another, They love the sectarian bigotry and simply get bored when there is peace and stability in the continental Africa
Posted by odofin | Report as abusive
DEC 6, 2011
9:19 AM EST
Longest “serving” leaders is a misnomer. The only people they are “serving” is themselves!
The rest of the citizens are not being “served”, they are being subjugated!
Posted by Limnothrissa | Report as abusive
DEC 6, 2011
11:04 AM EST
Deposed is the wrong starting point. Democratic change can actually take place through various means, including but not limited to street revolutions that topple a government. These are quite rare in Africa.
However, most of these autocratic holdouts in Africa are quite weak, as this report points out: “Africa and Arab Spring: A New Era of Democratic Expectations” (​ ads/2011/11/ACSS-Special-Report-1.pdf). Some face increasing pressure from their African neighbors to improve governance and their citizens tend to have higher expectations of their governments and leaders, due in part to their access to news and democratic norms through expanding information technologies and more active civil society groups. Some may indeed be toppled through citizens pushing hard for change and increasingly active civil soceity organizations. In many however, you may see change from the inside as these leaders rightly read the tea leaves and realize that protecting their interests will require them to give up some authority and move their countries toward democracy.
Posted by davinoregan | Report as abusive
DEC 26, 2011
8:10 AM EST
some of us are posting misleading information which has nothing good other than exposing our hatred towards the leaders mentioned. Melese Zenawi never had ethnic cleansing policy. even Mengistu Haile Mariam, the most brutal of all, never thought of committing genocide though he was later sentenced to life time imprisonment for the same. in one thing i agree with those of you who have posted your comment regarding Melese Zenawi, that is melese zenawi should be among the longest serving African leaders whom we speculate to be deposed in 2012, because he has clung to power without the consent of ethiopians. since he came to power many ethiopians have been brutally tortured or killed mainly because of their firm political stance. countless others have been made to flee their country. at this particular moment opposition leaders, journalists and human right activists are in jail waiting for trial having been accused of associating themselves with terrorist organizations. as far as economy is concerned, it is only recently that Melese has shown commitment to bring economic development. before that he and his accomplices were bewilderd. in 2005 they came to understand that ethiopians were no longer tolerant to anyone they did not choose to rule them. though Melese managed to cling to power after rigging consecutive elections he knew he would lose his power unless he worked hard towards improving the economy and allowing democratic institutions to flourish. he has never opted for the later in spite of his frequent promises. rather he is striving to emulate china where communist leaders have managed to legitimize their rule by bringing rapid economic growth in the absence of democracy.
Posted by Habesha | Report as abusive
DEC 30, 2011
2:39 PM EST
Democracy is a culture that takes long to hold.African leaders whocame on power right after independance know nothing of democracy, governance and were mostly pursuing individual clanical of inner circle interest.The following generation is a bit better than the previous because of international influence. There si a hope that in the coming decade governance will improve in Africa. It is a process. It is taking longer in Africa because of our realities and the dirty hands of certains western leaders…
Posted by Nougbodotor | Report as abusive
JAN 21, 2012
10:16 AM EST
Some pretty interesting comments all over. INDIA is a land where corruption & development have co-existed peacefully for hundreds of years.
May be its time to outsource democracy from India ?
If the west can outsource technology from India may be its worth a try ?
Posted by CSRS | Report as abusive
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Raphael Banda
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