Skip to navigationSkip to content
HALL OF FAMERS

2017 has been a tough year for Africa’s strongmen

With Robert Mugabe gone, the list of Africa’s longest serving leaders is shrinking
AP Photo, Reuters
(Clockwise from top left): Teodoro Obiang (Equatorial Guinea), Paul Biya (Cameroon), Yoweri Museveni (Uganda), Omar al-Bashir (Sudan), Idriss Deby (Chad), Isaias Afewerki (Eritrea), Denis Sassou Nguesso (Congo), Paul Kagame (Rwanda), Joseph Kabila (DRC)
  • Lynsey Chutel
By Lynsey Chutel

Reporter

This article is more than 2 years old.

2017 has been a tough year for Africa’s strongmen: Yahya Jammeh was kicked out, José Eduardo dos Santos stepped down, and Robert Mugabe was pushed off. And there’s still six weeks to go.

The only leader independent Zimbabwe has ever known, Robert Mugabe resigned on Tuesday, Nov. 21, forced out by a bloodless coup after 37 years. A few months earlier in August, Angolan president José Eduardo dos Santos decided not to stand for re-election as party president, and de facto state president after 38 years. In January, Gambian leader Yahya Jammeh eventually relinquished control and moved out of the presidential palace after losing a December election. He’d been in power for 22 years.

Their respective departures changed Africa’s political landscape and collectively sends a message to the citizens living under other strongmen and longtime leaders, that change is possible.

AP Photo, Reuters
Out: Yahya Jammeh, José Eduardo dos Santos and Robert Mugabe

📬 Kick off each morning with coffee and the Daily Brief (BYO coffee).

By providing your email, you agree to the Quartz Privacy Policy.