15 African Presidents That Died In Power
Death usually plays a significant role in news coverage across the continent, especially at the end of a prominent personality.
In Africa, political leaders have had their fair share of death being recorded.
Some of these deaths have natural causes, while others are cases of assassination, execution, and even death in battle.
- President Idriss Dérby
On April 20, 2021, Chad lost her then-president Idriss Déby Itno to an injury.
The former president had led the country for 30 years and died following an injury sustained while commanding his army in a fight against rebels, making him one of Africa’s presidents to die in power.
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- President Michael Sata
Another Africa President that died while in power is Michael Sata of Zambia.
After his election in 2011, there were rumors of Michael Data failing health following his continuous absence from significant state functions.
On October 28, 2014, it was announced that the then Zambia president had died from an undisclosed illness in the United Kingdom at the age of 77.
- Prime Minister Meles Zenawi
In August 2012, Ethiopia lost her then-president Meles Zenawi to an undisclosed infection in Belgium.
The late prime minister first served as a president between 1991 to 1995, before becoming a prime minister in 1995 to 2012 when he died at the age of 57.
- President John Atta Mills
Still, in 2012, Ghana lost her then-president, John Atta Mills, who died while in office.
The late president died of a stroke and throat cancer. He was only in the office for three years before his demise in 2012 at 68.
- President Bingu wa Mutharika
2012 wasn’t a good year for Malawi, who lost her then-president, Bingu wa Mutharika, to a heart attack.
The late president had led for eight years before suffering from a heart attack in April and died that same month at 78.
- President Malam Bacai Sanha
Another leader who died while in power still in 2012 is the president of Guinea-Bissau, Malam Bacai Sanha.
The then-president of Guinea-Bissau had led the country for four years before his demise at 64 in Paris from diabetes.
Throughout his time in office, Malam Bacai Sanha was in and out of the office due to several health complications.
African Presidents That Died In Power
- Moammar Gadhafi
Moammar Gadhafi was a self-professed Libyan leader who led the country for 42 years.
He came into power following a bloodless military coup in 1969. In 2011, Moammar Gadhafi was killed while in office at 69.
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- President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua
Also, in 2011, Nigeria lost her then-president, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, who died at the age of 58.
The late president had been in office for three years before his demise from pericarditis.
Following his election in 2007, Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s health deteriorated quickly before his death in 2011.
- President Joao Bernardo Vieira
While in office, president Joao Bernardo Vieira of Guinea-Bissau, was assassinated in March 2009.
He led Guinea-Bissau for more than 30 years before he was assassinated in his country, making him one of Africa’s presidents to have died while in power.
- President Omar Bongo
Omar Bongo died while in power in Gabon. He was one of the longest-serving rulers in history, ruling for 42 conservative years. In June 2009, it was announced that the then-president had lost his life to advanced intestinal cancer. Omar Bongo died at the age of 72 years.
- President Lansana Conte
In December 2008, Guinea lost her then-president, Lansana Conte, to an undisclosed illness at 74.
Following his resumption of office in April 1984, the late president battled complications from diabetes and heart-related conditions.
After ruling for 24 years, Lansana Conte died of an undisclosed illness in 2008.
- President John Magufuli
Another Africa president who died in power is president John Magufuli of Tanzania. He died at the age of 61 from heart disease.
He was the first Tanzania president to be killed in office, and he died following a series of lengthy battles with heart disease.
- President Gnassingbe Eyadema
President Gnassingbe Eyadema of Togo had ruled for 38 years before his demise in 2005. He is known as one of Africa’s longest-serving heads of state.
In 2005, it was announced that the then president of Togo had suffered from a heart attack.
However, he died while being transported to Europe for treatment.
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- President Muhammad Egal
Another Africa president to die while in power is President Muhammad Egal of Somaliland.
He died in 2002 following medical complications in a South African military hospital.
- Laurent Kabila
Country: Republic Of Congo
Laurent Desire Kabila came into power as the rebellion leader and overthrew then 1997 president.
Before his death, Laurent Kabila restored the country’s former name, the Democratic Republic of the Congo.
He, however, died on January 16, 2001, after being shot by a bodyguard at his presidential palace.