Gerontocracy vs Democracy: A Look at the Top 10 Oldest Presidents in Africa

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In this article, we take a closer look at the top 10 oldest presidents in Africa and explore the implications of gerontocracy on the continent.

The term gerontocracy refers to a system of government where the leaders are significantly older than the general population. In such a system, the elderly hold a disproportionate amount of power and influence, often to the detriment of the younger generations. The concept of gerontocracy has gained increased attention in recent years, particularly in the context of Africa, where many countries have aging leaders who have been in power for decades.

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, gerontocracy is defined as “a state, society, or group governed by old people.” This definition perfectly describes the political landscape in many African countries, where a handful of elderly leaders have held on to power for decades, despite calls for democratic reforms.

Top 10 Oldest Presidents in Africa

1. President Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo of Equatorial Guinea is the longest serving president in Africa and has made the number one spot on the list of oldest president in Africa, at 80 years old.

2. President Paul Biya of Cameroon, who has been in power since 1982, is 90 years old. Second longest ruling president in Africa.

3. President Abdelaziz Bouteflika of Algeria, who was forced to resign in 2019 after widespread protests, was 82 years old at the time. He died in 2021 at age 84.

4. President Isaias Afwerki of Eritrea, who has been in power since 1993, is 77 years old.

5. President Denis Sassou Nguesso of the Republic of the Congo, who has been in power for over 35 years, is 78 years old. He was reelected in 2021 garnering about 88.4% of votes and defeating all six challengers.

6. President Alpha Condé of Guinea, who was overthrown in a military coup in 2021, was 83 years old at the time.

7. Muhammadu Buhari of Nigeria, who was a former military head of state from 31 December, 1983 to 27 August, 1985. He later became a civilian president in 2015 after contesting and losing 3 times in 2003, 2007 and 2011. He was born on 17 December, 1942.

8. President Yoweri Museveni of Uganda, who has been in power since 1986, is 78 years old.

9. President Hage Geingob of Namibia, who has been in power since 2015, is 81years old.

10. President Emmerson Mnangagwa of Zimbabwe, who took over from Robert Mugabe in 2017, is 80 years old.

The presence of so many elderly leaders in Africa raises concerns about the impact of gerontocracy on the continent’s political and economic future. Many of these leaders have been accused of corruption, human rights abuses, and stifling democratic progress in their countries.

At the same time, there are also examples of successful democratic transitions in Africa, such as the 2019 peaceful transfer of power in Malawi and the ongoing political reforms in Ethiopia.

In conclusion, while gerontocracy may be prevalent in Africa, it is not the only path for the continent’s political future. With a growing population of young, educated Africans demanding change, there is hope for a more democratic and prosperous future.



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2 thoughts on “Gerontocracy vs Democracy: A Look at the Top 10 Oldest Presidents in Africa”

  1. God save Africa and give the youths the strength to take over from those who caused the problems. Old folks were there in their youth, and back there in their grey years! Greed! Shame!!


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