Africa is known to create political dynasties that end up holding the highest office for decades, which often end up being perceived as birthright dynasties. Family presidential successions are rooted in authoritarian politics in which one person holds too much power for too long. They risk exacerbating personal politics and weakening key institutions, further delegitimizing the government and fuelling conflict and instability. This article highlights the African presidents who ascended to political power after their family member, either by direct succession or years later, in systems of government that are not monarchies.
Here are the political dynasties in Africa.
1. Ali Bongo Ondimba
President of Gabon
Ali Bongo Ondimba (born Alain Bernard Bongo), sometimes known as Ali Bongo, is a Gabonese leader who has been President of Gabon since October 2009. His father, Omar Bongo, served as the President of Gabon from 1967 until his death in 2009.
2. Faure Gnassingbé
President of Togo
Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé Eyadéma is a Togolese politician who has been the President of Togo since 2005. His father, Gnassingbé Eyadéma, served as the President of Togo from 1967 until his death in 2005.
3. Nana Akufo-Addo
President of Ghana
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (born William Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo) is the President of Ghana, in office since January 2017. His father, Edward Akufo-Addo, served as the President of Ghana in the Second Republic from 31 August 1970 until his deposition by coup d’état on 13 January 1972.
4. Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo
President of Equatorial Guinea
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is an Equatoguinean politician and former military officer who has served as the 2nd president of Equatorial Guinea since August 1979. His uncle, Francisco Macías Nguema, served as the first President of Equatorial Guinea from the country’s independence in 1968 until his overthrow in 1979 in military coup led by Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo.
5. Uhuru Kenyatta
Former President of Kenya
Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta is a Kenyan politician and businessman who served as the fourth President of the Republic of Kenya, since March 2013 to September 2022. His father, Jomo Kenyatta, served as Kenya’s first President from 1964 until his death in 1978.
6. Peter Mutharika
Former President of Malawi
Arthur Peter Mutharika served as the President of Malawi from May 2014 to June 2020. His older brother, President Bingu wa Mutharika, served as the President of Malawi from 24 May 2004 until his death on 5 April 2012.
7. Joseph Kabila
Former President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Joseph Kabila Kabange served as President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between January 2001 and January 2019. He took office ten days after the assassination of his father, President Laurent-Désiré Kabila. His father was president from May 1997 until his death on January 2001.
8. Ian Khama
Former President of Botswana
Serêtsê Khama Ian Khama served served as the fourth President of the Republic of Botswana from 1 April 2008 to 1 April 2018. His father, Sir Seretse Goitsebeng Maphiri Khama, was the first President of Botswana, who served from 1966 until his death in 1980.
9. Navin Ramgoolam
Former Prime Minister of Mauritius
Navinchandra Ramgoolam served as the Prime Minister of Mauritius from 2005 to 2014 and leader of the Labour Party. His father, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, served as the first prime minister of Mauritius from March 1968 to June 1982.