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African Longest Serving Presidents and How They Came into Power



Since their independence from colonialism, most African countries have practiced a democratic system of government.

While some have judiciously operated this system of government, there are others with presidents who have ruled for years with no intention of stepping down sooner.

Recently, there have also been coups in African countries colonized by France.

Below are some things you may not know about the longest-serving presidents in Africa, including their age and how they came into power:

8. Faure Gnassingbe (Togo) – 18 years (since 2005)

His full name is Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé Eyadéma. He was born on June 6, 1966, and currently 57 years old (as of 2023).

Faure Gnassingbé first became the president of Togo, a  West African nation on the Gulf of Guinea, in 2005 at the age of 39.

Before assuming the presidency, he was appointed by his father, President Gnassingbé Eyadéma, as Minister of Equipment, Mines, Posts, and Telecommunications, serving from 2003 to 2005.

His father was the president of Togo from 1967 until his death in 2005.

In the February 2020 presidential elections, Gnassingbé won his fourth presidential term in office as the president of Togo.

According to the official result, he won with a margin of around 72% of the vote share. This enabled him to defeat his closest challenger, the former prime minister Agbeyome Kodjo who had 18%. The legitimacy of elections in Togo is widely disputed.

7. Paul Kagame (Rwanda) – 23 years (since 2000)

Paul Kagame was born on October 23, 1957. He is currently 65 years old and expected to be 66 by October 23, 2023.

Kagame became the president of the Republic of Rwanda, an Eastern African country at the age of 56, before his 57th birthday in 2000. This was after Pasteur Bizimungu resigned.

Before becoming the president, he assumed the dual roles of Vice President of Rwanda and Minister of Defence, under Bizimungu presidency from 1994 until 2000.

Since ascending to the presidency in 2000, Kagame has faced three presidential elections, in 2003, 2010, and 2017. On each occasion, he was re-elected in a landslide, winning more than 90 percent of the vote. A constitutional amendment referendum in 2015, which gave Kagame the ability to stand for additional terms, also passed by similar margins.

6. Ismaïl Omar Guelleh (Djibouti) – 24 years (since 1999)

Ismaïl Omar Guelleh was born on November 27, 1946. He is currently 76 years old and will be 77 by November 27, 2023.

Guelleh first became the president of Djibouti, a country in the Horn of Africa, in 1999.

He was the handpicked successor to his uncle, Hassan Gouled Aptidon, who had ruled Djibouti since independence in 1977. Guelleh was re-elected in 2005, 2011, 2016, and in 2021.

The elections were largely boycotted by the opposition amid complaints over widespread irregularities.

5. Dennis Sassou (Congo) – 26 yrs (1997)

4. Isaias Afwerki (Eritrea) – 30 years (since 1993)

3. Yoweri Museveni (Uganda) – 37 years (since 1986)

2. Paul Biya (Cameroon) – 41 years (since 1982)

1. Teodoro Obiang (Equatorial Guinea) 44 years (since 1979)


The information in this article was curated from online sources. NewsWireNGR or its editorial team cannot independently verify all details.

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