When there is talk of leaders who have a strong penchant for clinging on to power, many names from the continent of Africa come up. It's the trend. It still however would be prejudicial to confine Africa to such bad trends.
As Vladimir Putin is widely expected to win the polls in Russia, it will make him have a fourth term in power. Which will be approximately a quarter-century in power. This will put him among the top longest-serving leaders currently.
But who tops the list right now? Since toppling his uncle from power in 1979, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo has been in power ever since. That makes it 38 years at the helm of Equatorial Guinea. And it makes him the current longest-serving leader.
Cameroon's Paul Biya has been in power for 35 years, Congo's Denis Sassou has been in power for 34 years (excluding a five-year pause). Hun Sen, Cambodia's Prime Minister, has held power for 33 years. Yoweri Museveni has been in power for 32 years, and Iran's Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has been in power for 29 years.
Omar al-Bashir, Sudan's president, has been in power for 28 years. And for 27 years, Chad's Idriss Deby has held on to power. Kazakhstan's President Nursultan Nazarbayev has ruled for 28 years. Tajikistan's President Emomali Rakhmon has been in power for 25 years, first rising to power in 1992 in the midst of a bloody civil war. Eritrea's t Isaias Afwerki has led the country for 24 years.
The sit-tight syndrome is not something new. It simply seems some leaders never harbour the thought of relinquishing power. It just does not cross their minds, at all.