When former Zimbabwe president Robert Mugabe, 94, was unceremoniously marched out of the office he held for 37 years, hope remained that the moment last month could be a turning point in Africa’s long history of “old men” running the continent.
Well, Mugabe was replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, a 75-year-old onetime loyalist to the ex-president.
Nigeria’s president Muhammed Buhari at 75 is the 9th Oldest president in Africa
Nigeria’s president Buhari, in office for four terms since 2015, has said he would run for a term in 2019, when he’ll be 76. What originally started out to be a one-term presidency for the heroic corruption fighter has now turned into the same kind of “overstay in power”.
One of the many remarkable things about Africa’s political environment is the fact that Africa is the world’s youngest continent, with 60% of the Africa’s population under 25.
In fact, the delta between the age of some of Africa’s long-serving presidents and the median age of their citizens is remarkable. In Uganda it’s a whopping 57.5 years, while in Zimbabwe it’s now 55 (down from 73). That’s the same gap in Equatorial Guinea, where president Teodoro Obiang, 75, is Africa’s longest serving president. President Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria turned 75 last year and the median age of Africa’s largest country by population is 18.4 years, meaning a gap of 56.6 years.
Whoever said the youths are the leaders of tomorrow obviously haven’t been to Africa.. Here are the top 10 oldest African presidents.
1. Mohamed Beji Caid Essebsi, Tunisia – Age: 92
Muhammad beji born 29 November 1926 is a Tunisian politician who has been President of Tunisia since December 2014. Previously he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1981 to 1986 and as Prime Minister from February 2011 to December 2011. He is now the oldest president in Africa and the second oldest president in the world, he is also the oldest president in Northern Africa.
2. Paul Biya – Cameroon, Age: 85 Years
Paul hails from Cameroon and was born on February 13, 1933. Politics was always in Biya’s blood, and he has managed to be president for several terms, he has been the President of Cameroon since 6 November 1982. At the age of 85 and still in power, Paul Biya is the second oldest president in Africa and the oldest president in central Africa.
3. Abdelaziz Bouteflika – Algeria, Age: 81 years
Abdelaziz Bouteflika is an Algerian politician who has been the fifth President of Algeria since 1999. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1963 to 1979. As President, he presided over the end of the bloody Algerian Civil War in 2002, and he ended emergency rule in February 2011 amidst regional unrest. He has also served as president of the United Nations General Assembly.
Currently not only is he the third oldest African Presidents in Africa, he is also the second oldest president in North Africa.
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4. Manuel Pinto da Costa – São Tomé and Príncipe, Age: 80 years
Manuel Pinto da Costa is a politician who served as the first President of São Tomé and Príncipe from 1975 to 1991. He was again elected as President in August 2011 and took office on 3 September 2011.
He is the 4th oldest African presidents.
5. Alpha Condé – Guinea, Age: 80 years
Alpha Condé born on 4th march 1938 is a Guinean politician who was elected as President of Guinea in 2010. This was after two unsuccessful attempts to outrun President Lansana Conté in the 1993 and 1998 presidential elections. When he took office that December, he became the first freely elected president in the country’s history and now one of the oldest African presidents.
Currently he is the 5th oldest president in Africa and the oldest president in West Africa.
6. Peter Mutharika – Malawi, Age: 77 years
Arthur Peter Mutharika born 18 July 1940 has been President of Malawi since 31 May 2014.
He informally served as an adviser to his older brother, President Bingu wa Mutharika, on issues of foreign and domestic policy from the onset of his election campaign until the President’s death on 5 April 2012.
Currently He is the oldest president in southern Africa, a title he snatched from the recently ousted Zimbabwean President, Mugabe.
7. Teodoro Nguema Mbasogo – Equitorial Guinea, Age: 76
Teodoro Nguema is an
Equatoguinean politician who has been President of Equatorial Guinea since 1979. He ousted his uncle, Francisco Macías Nguema, in an August 1979 military coup.
He is the longest serving president in Africa and the second longest-serving non-royal national leader in the world.
8. Emmerson Dambudzo Mnangagwa – Zimbabwe, Age: 75
Emmerson Mnangagwa born 15 September 1942 is a Zimbabwean politician serving as the third and current President of Zimbabwe since 24 November 2017.
A longtime ally of his predecessor Robert Mugabe and a senior member of the ruling ZANU–PF party, Mnangagwa served as First Vice President of Zimbabwe from 2014 until his dismissal in early-November 2017, which prompted a coup d’état On 21 November 2017, Mugabe resigned (a removal recognised in a statement by the
African Union, not as a “coup”, but as a legitimate expression of the will of the Zimbabwean people)..
9. Muhammadu Buhari – Nigeria, Age: 75 years
Nigeria’s President Buhari born on the 17th of December 1942 came into democratic power in 2015. He had been unsuccessful in earlier bids for the presidency in the 2003, 2007 and 2011 general elections. The President previously served as the nation’s head of state from 31 December 1983 to 27 August 1985, after he took power in a military coup d’état.
Buhari is also one of the longest serving Nigerian president.
10. Nana Akufo-Addo – Ghana, Age: 74 years
Nana Akufo-Addo born 29 March 1944 took over from former President John Mahama in January 2017. He had previously served the country as an Attorney General from 2001 to 2003 and as Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2003 to 2007. He lost the race for President twice – in 2008 and again in 2012.
11. Yoweri Museveni Uganda, Age: 73 years
Uganda’s Yoweri Museveni was involved in rebellions that toppled Ugandan leaders Idi Amin (1971–79) and Milton Obote (1980–85). He was therefore seen by the West as a hero – a part of a new generation of African leaders. But the 73-year-old has since played fast and loose with the rules, scrapping Presidential term limits in 2005 to enable the extension of his rule.
12. Alassane Ouattara – Ivory Coast, Age: 73 years
Alassane Dramane Ouattara has been President of Côte d’Ivoire since 2011. Ouattara was the Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire from November 1990 to December 1993, appointed to that post by President Félix Houphouët-Boigny. Ouattara became the President of the Rally of the Republicans (RDR), an Ivorian political party, in 1999. He became president of Ivory Coast on 4th December 2010.