Maybe power made them tick and loose it a little bit too much, but these atrocities committed by these African leaders have them hit the charts of Africa’s worst dictators. The list includes bloodless coups to war crimes to cannibalism and everything in between.

Here is a list of African leaders who have committed some of the worst and evil crimes against their people.

1. President Obiang Mbasogo

Talk of Africa’s second longest serving president. President Obiang-Nguema Mbasogo is the iron fist in Equatorial Guinea since 1979, coming in second after Cameroon’s President who served for 43 years 6 days. Though widely accused of corruption and abuse of power (is it a wonder his son and Vice President, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, was recently discovered with the world’s rarest and expensive cars?) his Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea makes this country a dominant-party state while holding all governing powers in the nation. His government is indeed a legal dictatorship as the constitution provides him with powers as rule by decree.

2. Yahya Jammeh

Yahya Abdul-Aziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh is a former military officer and Gambian politician. His reign, amounting to 21 years, has seen the alleged human ill-treatments such as student shootings, oppression of the press, disappearances and imprisonments. First elected in September 1996, he has been re-elected 3 other times first with 53% of votes, in 2006 with 67.3% and once more having received 72% of the popular votes.

3. Omar al-Bashir

Omar Hassan Ahmad al-Bashir became the first president to be indicted in war crimes by the International Criminal Courts in March 2009, and his second on July 2010. He seized power in 1989 in a bloodless coup against the government. He still is at large with alleged crimes such as the unlawful attacks on the people of Darfur, subjected the population to acts of torture, murder and extermination, women to acts of rape, acts of forcible transfers and contamination of wells and water pumps.

4. Robert Mugabe

At 93 years of age and with 31 years in power, he will likely die before all counts of 50,000 murders are evened out. Robert Gabriel Mugabe became president from 1987 to 2017. In the four decades he has ruled Zimbabwe, Mugabe has been accused of being a dictator responsible for economic mismanagement, corruption, human rights abuses and racism, and crimes against humanity.

5. Muammar Gaddafi

Muammar Mohammed Abu Minyar Gaddafi might have won the people of Libya’s hearts by being a hero and to others being a lunatic. He ran a police state and his closest relatives and children were allowed to kill without question. This was before demise in October 2011.

6. Ahmed Sekou Toure

Having ruled Guinea from 1958 to 1984, he was known to be a corrupt leader, imposing harsh laws to the people and coming up with innovative ways to commit murders and crimes.

7. Charles Taylor

This warlord ruled Liberia’s as the 22nd president from 1997 to 2003, and was the main cause of the country’s 1st civil war that lasted 7 years and killed thousands of innocent people. He was found guilty of charges as crimes against humanity, aiding and abetting war crime by the Special Court at the the International Criminal Court in the Hague, Netherlands, and was sentenced to 50 years in prison.

8. Hissene Habre

The former president of Chad ruled the country for 8 years before the United Nation’s International Court of Justice ordered for action to be taken upon him. He was either to be prosecuted or extradited while in Senegal where he had gone to seek refuge. In 2016, the Extraordinary African Chambers at Special Court found Habre guilty of rape, sexual slavery, and ordering the killing of 40,000 people during his reign and sentenced him to life in prison.


9. Mobutu Sese Seko

He was president in DRC between 1965 and 1997, and during his reign Mobutu employed authoritarian tactics to strangle dissenting voices, amassed vast personal wealth, and attempted to take the country back to a colonial culture. His regime was notorious for corruption, nepotism, rape, torture, extrajudicial killings, and political repression. In 1996, he ordered all members of the Tutsi ethnic group to leave DR Congo or be killed. This group later became the center of rebellion against Mobutu. In 1997, Laurent-Desire Kabila, with the help of Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni and Rwandan President Paul Kagame, managed to overrun DRC, forcing Mobutu in to exile in Togo.He later moved to Morocco, where he died in September 1997.


10. Idi Amin Dada

As president of Uganda between 1971 to 1979, he had a list of heinous acts thus topping the list of Africa’s worst dictators. Despite giving himself the title ‘His Excellency President for Life, Field Marshal AlHAdji Dr. Idi Amin, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of all the Beasts of the Earth and Fishes of the Sea and Conqueror of the British Empire in Africa’, Idi confessed to having eaten human flesh, raped women and girls surrounding his palace and murdered more than half a million Ugandans.

Author: Megan  

CDM Blog