Longest Serving Presidents In Africa

In Africa, many would agree with us that one gets unseated from that hot-powerful seat when they say so. This may not be the case in many countries in the region but looking at the list of our top ten longest serving presidents in Africa, the truth is evident.

Most and the majority of them have tried to dictate indirectly to not only the minority opposition but also those who genuinely supported and voted for them.

We decided to look at the main reasons why folks would ask citizens to elect them in good faith to only later turn dictators. Age is never an issue to the majority of African Leaders. One would stay beyond their tenure not because they were rightly and democratically re-elected but because somehow they managed to compromise top involved commissions through corruption.

Top 10 Longest Serving Presidents In Africa

Name CountryNo of Years
Teodoro Obiang NguemaEquatorial Guinea37 years+
José Eduardo dos SantosAngola37 years
Robert Gabriel MugabeZimbabwe36 years+
Paul BiyaCameroon35 years+
Yoweri Kaguta MuseveniUganda30 years+
Omar Hassan Ahmad al-BashirSudan27 years+
General Idriss Déby ItnoChad26 years+
Isaias Afwerki TigrinyaEritrea23 years+
Denis Sassou NguessoCongo19 years +
Paul KagameRwanda16 year +

Take a glass of water and relax, we are going to take you through the list of the African’s longest serving leaders who in one way or another do not seem to be leaving anytime soon.

10. Paul Kagame-Rwanda

Became president on April 22, 2000 (16+ year)

Sad boy

One of the presidents who will forever be remembered if not continent-wide by all East African nations. After taking the presidency back in 2000 from his predecessor, Pasteur Bizimungu, Kagame has and still is the chief in command of army forces of Rwanda.

Many people may not know this, but Kagame was responsible for appointing Mr. Bizimungu as the president who later resigned in 2000. Paul Kagame was then elected (not by the public of Rwanda) but by the Parliament and the Government ministers.

 9. Denis Sassou Nguesso-Congo

Became President on February 8, 1979 (19+ years)

For almost two decades now, Dennis Sassou has been the President of the Republic of the Congo becoming the countries longest serving president. He once was installed by military back in 1997 but was kept out of power between 1992-1997 before staging back to the political arena. In 2005, he introduced a referendum that passed and saw him extend his tenure as the Congolese president.

8. Isaias Afwerki Tigrinya-Eritrea

Became President since the independent on 24 May 1993 (23+ years)

Mr. Afwerki led Eritreans to the independence victory with Eritrean People’s Liberation Front (EPLF), and since then, he still is the only Eritrean president in history.

After independence, he was expected to bring in reforms that would see the newly born nation rise to a democratic country.  Instead, he successfully created and implemented a dictatorial rule that sees the state rank in the same category with the likes of North Korea.

For over 20 years, this country has suffered the worst of all kinds including starvation, human’s rights abuse, top-level corruption and much more.

He is not just one of the Africa’s longest serving leaders but a known dictator.

7. General Idriss Déby Itno-Chad

Became President on December 2, 1990 (26 years+)

The 64-year-old Chad president has two and half decades in the highest office in the country. General has had the backing of some strong nations including French. President Idriss in his reign has built and formed the continent’s most powerful army.

Due to the lack of a strong political opposition in the country and threats to any political grouping that seems to be gaining popularity in the country, President Idriss remains among the longest serving president in Africa.

6. Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir-Sudan

Became President on 16 October 1989 (27 years+)

It was back in 1989 when he was brigadier in the Sudanese Army; President Omar Hassan took advantage of his relevance and power in the military to unseat Prime Minister Sadiq al-Mahdi who was rightly and democratically elected by the people of Sudan.

He was a well-known figure especially after the 2009 saga when he was indicted by the International Criminal Court (ICC) for Genocide cases. As a wanted fellow, he has managed to keep a low profile, and like any other Africans longest servicing presidents; he thrives on making sure he is in power for more and more years to come.

5. Yoweri Kaguta Museveni-Uganda 

Became President on 29 January 1986(30 years+)

Nice autumn view in Africa

President Yoweri K. Museveni, the 72-year-old politician, is well known not only in East Africa but also in the entire continent for his criminal remarks and jokes. He is one charismatic president who is not only vocal on his tours and trips but also very active on social media especially Twitter.

Unlike many in his caliber, he has received a lot of credit for the way his government has improved the nation’s infrastructure, created the continent’s most known HIV Awareness campaigns and boosted the economy of Uganda.

Having been-been re-elected three times, President Museveni has made it crystal clear that he is not yet done. He will again be in the race for the presidential seat in the next general elections. If that happens and he wins the presidency seat, we will be editing this and charging his tenure with the addition of five more years.

4. Paul Biya-Cameroon

Became president on November 6, 1982 (35 years+)

Out of nowhere, Paul Biya rose as a bureaucrat under President Ahmadou Ahidjo who after resigning, the law required the prime minister to be sworn in the new President. Like you would already know, since then the Government of Cameroon has been nothing but dictatorship.

3. Robert Gabriel Mugabe-Zimbabwe

Became Head of the Government in 1980(36 years+)

President Mugabe is well known for his dictatorial leadership and the fact that he is a man who does not listen to reason. He became the national head of government in 1980. By then, Methodist minister, Canaan Banana became the first president of Zimbabwe up until 1987.

President Mugabe took office after Canaan Banana, since then, the man was never going to be unseated, not when he does not want to.

The country grew tremendously in its first few years. Right now, the country is ranked in the list of the poorest countries both in Africa and in the world. Do we expect much from these African longest serving leaders? Most of them are known, dictators and selfish beings.

2. José Eduardo dos Santos-Angola

Became president on 21 September 1979 (37 years+)

After the death of the first Angola president, Agostinho Neto. Since then, the man has been the ruler of the land up until today. Like you would expect, the government of Angola is rated on the list of top 5 most corrupt countries in Africa.

He has been a dictator all this time enriching each of his family members when the regular Angolan citizen is surviving with less than $2 a day. Everyone in Angola is relieved now that he announced that he would not run for the presidency in the next general elections.

1. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo-Equatorial Guinea

Became president on 3 August 1979 (37 years+)

Culture festivals in Africa

Teodoro Obiang is the President of Equatorial Guinea and the longest serving African President up to now. He mercilessly overthrew his uncle, Francisco Macías Nguema. He may not be getting much of credit for his job in the last three and half decades in the office, but he has been firm on development.

One of his acts which will be remembered is trying to convict and execute his uncle for genocide cases which failed. He is not only the Africans longest-serving president of all time but also world’s longest-serving president too.


The one expected way of president’s growth and developments is by the use of their time duration in the office. As you would wish, the longest-serving presidents should brag about a lot of achievements and developments. That is not the case in the most of Africa’s longest-serving leaders; it is the opposite. The shortest serving ones have a lot to brag about than the longest one.

It is our hope that you enjoyed this post and you learned something new. We welcome comments correcting or adding on this from everyone worldwide.

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