Africa’s Worst Dictators

Posted: November 16, 2010 in Uncategorized
1. Mobutu Sese Seko

Joseph Désiré Mobutu (later Mobutu Sese Seko) seized control of the Democratic Republic of the Congo in a 1965 coup. Mobutu ruled the country (renamed Zaire in 1971) for more than three decades, stifling political opposition and amassing huge sums of money while the country’s economy crumbled.

2. Mengistu Haile Marian

Mariam, the Ethiopian dictator who directed the ‘Red Terror’ against supposed enemies of his Soviet-backed regime, was convicted Tuesday, Dec. 12, 2006, of genocide in a rare case of an African strongman being called to account by his own country. Mengistu had been living in exile in Zimbabwe since 1992 and was convicted in absentia after a 12-year trial. He could face the death penalty at his Dec. 28 sentencing, but Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe said he won’t deport Mengistu if he refrains from making political statements or comments to the press.

3. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo

Known as ” El Jefe ” (The Boss), Obiang is “in permanent contact with the Almighty”, according to a state radio report. “He can decide to kill without anyone calling him to account and without going to hell because it is God himself with whom he is in permanent contact, and who gives him his strength,” a presidential aide told listeners. He has ruled Equatorial Guinea since 1979 when he overthrew his uncle and had him executed. His government has been described by several human rights groups as among the worst abusers of human rights in Africa. The tiny west African country has grown to become the continent’s third largest exporter of oil, but despite the new-found wealth most of its 500,000 inhabitants still live in abject poverty.He is a very close ally of Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe.

4. Idi Amin Dada

Idi Amin was president of Uganda from 1971 until 1979. A former boxer, Amin rose through the ranks of the Army in the 1960’s, and seized power in a military coup against Uganda’s first president, Milton Obote.

His reign was marked by brutal repression, torture and other violence. Bodies were found with genitals, noses, livers, and eyes missing. Prison camps began filling up with common citizens, where prisoners were forced to bludgeon each other to death with sledgehammers. Most sources suggest that around 300,000 people were killed by Amin’s forces.

Another 60,000 Kenyans of Asian descent were expelled from the country. In 1976, Amin declared himself president for life. Amin’s Uganda was highly militarized, with ‘Military tribunals placed above the system of civil law, soldiers appointed to top government posts, and civilian cabinet ministers informed that they will be subject to military discipline’. Citing ‘ancient tribal ownership, Amin invaded Tanzania in 1978, in an apparent attempt to deflect world attention from Uganda’s impending economic collapse. This move failed, since Amins troops were routed by the Tanzanians, who forced him to flee to Saudi Arabia, where he still lives today, reportedly with the aid of a monthly payment of US $1,400 per month from Saudi officials. Amin left Uganda with an estimated debt of US $250 Million. Amin has been proclaimed as ‘Africa’s Adolph Hitler’.

5. Omar Al-Bashir

Al Bashir seized power in Sudan in a military coup against a democratically elected government in 1989. Since his ascendancy, Amnesty International claims some 1 million people have been killed in the Sudanese civil war, whilst another 9 million have either fled the country or been subjected to ‘internal exile’, which basically means ‘stay inside or be shot’. Al Bashir has also dissolved Sudan’s parliament, banned political parties and closed down all independent media outlets. He has imposed a strict version of Islamic law (shariah) and used it to brutally repress the predominantly non-muslim people of Southern Sudan.

6. Charles Taylor

Taylor was actually elected as president by the people of Liberia in 1997. Amnesty International says that Taylor’s military forces regularly use rape and torture as instruments of terror and suggest that he used his civilians as virtual slave labour. Estimates suggest that Taylor’s personal fortune is greater than Liberia’s Gross National Product. This fortune was amassed by looting Liberia’s natural resources, including gold, diamonds, rubber and timber. According to Hybrid Culture Magazine, ‘rape and mutilation are standard tactics of intimidation’. UN sanctions and an arms embargo are in place against Taylor’s regime. Taylor has actively supported rebels in neighbouring Sierra Leone by helping them to smuggle illegal ‘blood diamonds’ in order to finance their ongoing civil war against the Sierra Leone government.

7.Jean-Bedel Bokassa

Jean-Bedel Bokassa was president of the Central African Republic from 1966 until 1979. Bokassa had served in the colonial French army and helped establish the new army of the independent C.A.R. He seized power in a military coup against president David Dracko in 1966 and almost immediately abolished the country’s constitution. In 1972 he declared himself president for life, and in 1976 he adopted the title of ’emperor’ after a US $30 Million coronation ceremony. Whilst enriching himself to the tune of US $125 Million, Bokassa brutalised and exploited his people with apparent flair. His ‘hands on’ approach led Bokassa to be personally involved in atrocities including torture, executions and even cannibalism. Bokassa was ousted by a French backed coup in 1979, but arrogantly returned in 1986, only to be arrested, convicted and sentenced to death for crimes against humanity. This sentence was commuted to life imprisonment, and yet Bokassa was released in 1993. As if he wasn’t busy enough, Bokassa apparently found time to have seventeen wives and around fifty children! He died of a heart attack in 1996.

So what kind of punishment do you think they deserve? and does that really change anything? does it bring back the lost lives?


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