Africa is one of the continents where age is just a number when it comes to holding political powers. This is even made worse by the type of democracy practiced in Africa, which is more nominal than practical. This gives our leaders the opportunity to manipulate policies to suit their interests. The saying that the youths are the leaders of tomorrow is becoming a mere illusion as the youths sit back and watch their great grand father refuse to release their tight grip on power. Who knows when these youths would have a chance to lead, maybe when they are also old like their fathers and grand fathers. And that will only be possible when the old lots are out of the way – of course, pushed out by death! Here are the top 10 oldest presidents in Africa who believe they are capable even when age is seriously telling on them.
10. Jacob Zuma – South Africa
Age: 73 years (April 12, 1942)
Jacob Gedleyihlekisa Zuma, GCB is the President of South Africa, elected by parliament following his party’s victory in the 2009 general election. He assumed office as the fourth president of South Africa on 9th May, 2009. He was reelected in the 2014 election. Even as one of the oldest African presidents, Zuma does not have good leadership records so far since he became the president of South Africa.
9. Alassane Ouattara – Ivory Coast
Age: 73 years (January 1st, 1942)
Alassane Dramane Ouattara has been President of Côte d’Ivoire since 2011. Ouattara was the Prime Minister of Côte d’Ivoire from November 1990 to December 1993, appointed to that post by President Félix Houphouët-Boigny. Ouattara became the President of the Rally of the Republicans (RDR), an Ivorian political party, in 1999. He became president of Ivory Coast on 4th December, 2010.
8. Peter Mutharika – Malawi
Age: 75 years (1940)
Arthur Peter Mutharika has been President of Malawi since 31 May 2014. Mutharika has worked globally in the field of international justice. He is an expert on international economic law, international law and comparative constitutional law. He informally served as an adviser to his older brother, President Bingu wa Mutharika, on issues of foreign and domestic policy from the onset of his election campaign until the President’s death on 5 April 2012. Still looking agile and full of energy, Mutharika is currently 75 and that qualifies him to make the list of oldest African presidents at the moment.
7. Ellen Johnson Sirleaf – Liberia
Age: 76 years (October 29, 1938)
Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, a woman politician and economist, is the incumbent president of the small West African country, Liberia. She is one of the most powerful and influential women in the world. She is the world’s first elected black female president and Africa’s first elected female head of state. Sirleaf was elected the president of Liberia on 16th January, 2006, at the age of 67. She is currently 76 and is the 7th oldest African president.
6. Alpha Condé
Age: 78 years (4th March 1938)
Alpha Condé is a Guinean politician who was elected as President of Guinea in 2010. This was after two unsuccessful attempts to outrun President Lansana Conté in the 1993 and 1998 presidential elections. When he took office that December, he became the first freely elected president in the country’s history.
5. Manuel Pinto da Costa – São Tomé and Príncipe
Age: 78 years (August 5, 1937)
Manuel Pinto da Costa is a Santoméan economist and politician who served as the first President of São Tomé and Príncipe from 1975 to 1991. He was again elected as President in August 2011 and took office on 3 September 2011. His 78 years of age found him a 5th place in our list of oldest African presidents.
4. Abdelaziz Bouteflika – Algeria
Age: 78 years (March 2, 1937)
Abdelaziz Bouteflika is an Algerian politician who has been the fifth President of Algeria since 1999. He was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1963 to 1979. As President, he presided over the end of the bloody Algerian Civil War in 2002, and he ended emergency rule in February 2011 amidst regional unrest. He has also served as president of the United Nations General Assembly.
3. Paul Biya – Cameroun
Age: 82 years (February 13, 1933)
Paul hails from Cameroon and was born in February 13 1933. Politics was always in Biya’s blood, and he has managed to be president for several terms, he has been the President of Cameroon since 6 November 1982. At the age of 82 and still in power, Paul Biya is the third oldest president in Africa and also ranks #8 in the list of top 10 oldest presidents in the world.
2. Beji Caid Essebsi – Tunisia
Age: 88 years (November 29, 1926)
Beji is Tunisia’s first freely elected president. He won the first regular presidential elections in 2014 at the age of 87. Previously, he served as Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1981 to 1986 and as Prime Minister from February 2011 to December 2011. He is the second oldest president in Africa, and the third oldest in the world.
1. Robert Mugabe – Zimbabwe
Age: 91 years (February 21, 1924)
Robert Gabriel Mugabe, the Zimbabwean President helped to bring freedom to Zimbabweans only to get himself power drunk, and has refused to step down since 1980. At 91, he is currently the oldest president in Africa and the entire world. He is so old now that he has a common habit of sleeping off in public sessions or gatherings. Recently, he slipped while walking down a few steps after a speech in Harare.