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Africa's longest-serving leaders

03 December 2016, 10:02

Luanda, -Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who is set to stand down next year after 38 years in power, is one of Africa's longest-serving leaders.

The continent is home to many men who have held office for two decades or more, and dos Santos is currently second overall, just a month behind Teodoro Obiang Nguema of Equatorial Guinea.

Here is a rundown:

- African leaders for more than 30 years -

- In tiny, oil-rich Equatorial Guinea, President Obiang is Africa's longest-serving leader, at 37 years.

Obiang came to power in a coup on August 3, 1979, ousting his own uncle, Francisco Macias Nguema, who was shot by a firing squad.

- Dos Santos is next in Angola, having taken up his post on September 21, 1979.

- Robert Mugabe, 92, rounds out the podium at number three, having run Zimbabwe since its independence in April 1980.

Mugabe is the only leader to have ruled since independence, and has now been either prime minister or president (since 1987) for more than 36 years.

- In Cameroon, Paul Biya has 34 years under his belt. He became president on November 6, 1982 after serving seven years as prime minister.

- Congolese President Denis Sassou Nguesso has spent 32 years in office, but not in one go. He first served from 1979 to 1992 and then came back to run the country in 1997 at the end of a civil war.

Sassou Nguesso was re-elected in March 2016 and could run again when the current term expires.

- In Uganda, Yoweri Museveni has been in power for more than 30 years. He took office in January 1986 after winning the war that ousted Idi Amin Dada, with help from neighbouring Tanzania.

He was elected to a fifth term in February 2016 amid allegations of fraud.

- King Mswati III of Swaziland is Africa's last absolute monarch. He acceded to the throne of the tiny southern kingdom in April 1986.

- In power for more than 20 years -

- In Sudan, Omar al-Bashir has ruled for 27 years since he staged a successful coup in June 1989.

- Chad's leader Idriss Deby took over the north-central African nation in December 1990, giving him 26 years in power. Deby won a disputed fifth term in April 2016.

- Eritrea's head of state Issayas Afewerki has been around since 1993.

- Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh has ruled for 22 years since he staged a coup in July 1994. However, he was defeated by opposition leader Adama Barrow, failing to get a fifth five-year term in Thursday's election.

- AFP

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