Africa has some of the longest serving heads of states in the world currently. We have witnessed the citizens of these African countries ‘democratically’ elect their presidents into office every election year since the time they first tasted power. Of course, many have disputed the credibility of such elections.
How beneficial have the almost eternal reigns of these politicians been to their countries?
Democracy amplifies the voice of the people. Therefore if the people want to keep a particular president in power for many years, that decision should be respected. Democracy is not only evident when there is a change of government; it is simply the decision of the masses being respected and enforced. Hence, if the majority of the citizens decide they would like to maintain a particular president in power for a while longer, it is solely up to them - especially when it is constitutional to do so. Quite recently, Gambia went to the polls and the majority decided that they had had enough of the never-ending reign of Yahyah Jammeh - he has been in power for the past 22 years. Though the people voted massively for Adama Barrow, Jammeh, a few days after conceding defeat changed his mind and stated that he wasn’t ready to leave power because he believed the elections was rigged. Adama Barrow was sworn into power on 19th January, 2017 though Yahyah Jammeh hadn’t officially stepped down.
Below is a visualization of the longest-serving African presidents as at December 2016.