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Dictators of Africa – Part 6

Hissène Habré – Chad – 1982–1990

Chairman of the Council of State 1982; President of Chad 1982-1990. Gained power in a coup; abolished post of Prime Minister; executed opposition leaders.

Thomas Sankara – Burkina Faso – 1983–1987

President of Upper Volta 1983-1984; President of Burkina Faso 1984-1987. Gained power in coup. Led military regime. Overthrown and killed in coup.

Maaouya Ould Sid’Ahmed Taya – Mauritania – 1984–2005

Deposed the military head of state, Mohamed Khouna Ould Haidalla, on December 1984 and declared himself Chairman of the Military Committee for National Salvation. Deposed by Ely Ould Mohamed Vall in a bloodless coup d’état.

Ibrahim Babangida – Nigeria – 1985–1993

Annulled the most free and fair presidential election in the history of Nigeria, leading to the death of the presidential candidate Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola.

Zine El Abidine Ben Ali – Tunisia – 1987–2011

President of Tunisia. Although he announced political pluralism in 1992, his Democratic Constitutional Rally (formerly Neo-Destour party) continues to dominate the national politics and there is no genuine open political debate. In 1999, although two unknown alternative candidates were permitted for the first time to stand in the presidential elections, Ben Ali was re-elected with 99.66% of the vote. A controversial constitutional referendum in 2002 allowed him to seek re-election and contemplate the possibility of remaining in office until 2014. On October 24, 2004, he was again re-elected, officially taking 94.48% of the vote. Certain books, periodicals and internet sites are banned or blocked. The National Television frequently show his actions during a week, but often the President only appears in passing on television. Removed from office by a popular uprising in January 2011.

Omar Hasan Ahmad al-Bashir – Sudan – 1989–present

President of the Revolutionary Command Council for National Salvation 1989-1993; President of Sudan 1993–present. Took power in a military coup and increasingly centralized power into him. Widely believed to be implicated in the Darfur Janjaweed pogroms.

Idriss Déby – Chad – 1990–present

Head of State 1990-1991; President of Chad 1991 to date. Gained power in a coup; continues to suppress opposition and press.

Sani Abacha – Nigeria – 1993–1998

Chairman of the Provisional Ruling Council 1993-1998. Seized power in a coup; persecuted opposition; never stood for election. Jailed Chief Moshood Kashimawo Olawale Abiola, the presumed winner of the annulled 1993 presidential election; presided over execution of activist Ken Saro-Wiwa.


 

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