4 longest-serving dictators – is Robert Mugabe’s time at an end?

Robert Mugabe

Robert Mugabe could be on the brink of being ousted from power. How long has the infamous dictator lasted and how does he compare to the longest-serving non-royal dictators from around the world?

According to the BBC, Mugabe is under house arrest and his future as his nation's leader is seriously up for debate.

Here are the world's seven longest-serving dictators.

4th - Ali Khamenei

Khamenei has led Iran in two ways since his ascent to power in 1981. He started off as Iran’s third president before becoming its second supreme leader in 1989, a position he holds to this day.

Under his leadership, the country has been accused of serious human rights abuses, as reported by CBS, and in 2014, the BBC reported that his ex-cellmate and journalist Houshang Asadi said of him in 2011: "He changed from a man who fought for freedom to a dictator, now Mr Khamenei is more of a dictator than a shah.”

3rd - Robert Mugabe

The current (for now) Zimbabwe leader is the third longest-serving dictator in the world. He first became prime minister of his country in 1980, a position he held for seven years only ending when he became prime minister in 1987. He has led is country for almost thirty-eight years.

His time in power has been characterised by staggeringly high inflation, struggling healthcare standards (an issue brought to light by his appointment as WHO goodwill ambassador and the reversal of that decision, according to the BBC), and corruption, as reported by the Guardian.

With a record like that perhaps it’s no surprise the 93-year-old's reign could be about to end?

2nd - Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasago

Nguema Mbasago has been Equatorial Guinea’s president since Margaret Thatcher came to power in 1979 – 38 years ago. Since then there have been six British prime ministers. According to the Guardian, his administration has one of the worst histories of human rights abuse in Africa and he currently leads a one-party-state.

His ironically named Democratic Party of Equatorial Guinea holds almost every seat in the country’s Chamber of Deputies.

1st - Paul Biya

Biya has led Cameroon for over 42 years, first as prime minister then as president. According to CBS, several of his successful elections have been criticised for alleged fraud, and the Washington Post has reported that anti-discrimination strikes have recently been taking place in English-speaking regions against Biya’s government.

The lengths of time in power are based off this Wikipedia list of the longest-serving non-royal world leaders.