This African leader in power for nearly 40 years was almost overthrown in a coup

This African leader in power for nearly 40 years was almost overthrown in a coup

In a year, Africa saw the end of the regimes of two out of six long-time presidents who had served for over 30 years. 75-year-old Jose Eduardo dos Santos of Angola stepped down last year after clinching to power for 36 years while 93-year-old Robert Gabriel Mugabe was overthrown in a military takeover after serving for 36 years.

It was almost the end of the new longest-serving African leader after Mugabe, Equatorial Guinea’s Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo whose government said on Wednesday that a coup attempt was foiled and at least 30 armed men from Chad, Cameroon, and the Central African Republic were arrested late December.

They were reportedly found with rocket launchers, rifles, and ammunition over the border in Cameroon where local media said one person was shot dead during the clashes. The oil-rich country’s Security Minister Nicholas Obama Nchama announced on state radio that the armed men were mercenaries hired by opposition groups.

He added that the coup was foiled with the help of Cameroon, another country that has a leader who has been in power for 33 years.

75-year-old Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo’s government has been accused of gross human rights abuses, corruption, and nepotism. His son is the Vice President of the country and last year, a French court gave him a three-year suspended sentence for corruption.

For now, there are four African presidents who have served for more than 30 years and are still going strong. Besides Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, the rest are Cameroon’s Paul Biya (34 years in office), Congo Brazzaville’s Denis Sassou Nguesso (33 years in office), and Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni (32 years in office).

This article by Ismail Akwei was first published on

Published by Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei is an international journalist, digital media and communications professional, editor, writer, arts, culture and tourism advocate, human rights activist, pan-Africanist, tech enthusiast and history buff. He has worked with multinational media companies across Africa and has over a decade’s experience in journalism.

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