Uganda: 40 Years in Power - Museveni Joins Exclusive Club of Presidents

21 January 2021

President Museveni won a hugely divisive and violence scarred re-election on Saturday, January 16, extending his long rule to 40 years.

The result gives President Museveni, 76 and in power since 1986, five more years as president. His sixth elected term victory makes him the fourth longest serving president on the African continent after Cameroun's 87-year-old Paul Biya, who has ruled for 45 years and 202 days, and 78-year-old Equatorial Guinea's Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo who has ruled for 41 years.

Museveni, now in power for 35 years, closely trails the Republic of Congo's 77-year-old Deniss Sassou Nguesso who has ruled for 36 years.

On the world stage, he is outshone only by the 81-year-old Ali Khamenei, the Supreme leader of Iran, who has reigned for the last 39 years.

He also stands in good stead with 68-year-old Hun Sen, prime minister of Cambodia, who has ruled for 36 years since December 26 1984. On Wikipedia's list of 46 current living longest-ruling heads of nation-states or national governments, excluding royalty, who have served ten years or longer, sorted by length of tenure, President Museveni ranks sixth.


According to Reuters, Biya, 87, took over in 1982 from President Ahmadou Ahidjo after serving as prime minister for seven years. Biya has won five multi-party elections since 1992. The opposition has called the results fraudulent. Two-term limits were abolished in 2008.


Obiang, 78, seized power from his uncle in a coup. While opposition parties were legalised in 1992, Obiang's Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea dominates.

He has won over 90% of votes at every election, some of which the opposition boycotted. Sassou Nguesso, 77, assumed office in 1979 before losing the country's first multi-party elections in 1992. He regained power in 1997 after a civil war and changed the constitution in 2015 to let himself stand for re-election the following year.

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