Here is a snapshot of the current longest-serving African heads of state.
Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (43 year rule) - Equatorial Guinea
Obiang, who came to power in an August 3, 1979 coup, is Africa's longest-serving leader, with 43 years at the helm. Next month, at the age of 80, he will run for a sixth term lasting seven years.
Paul Biya (40 year rule) - Cameroon
Cameroon has lived through 40 years of largely unchallenged and hardline rule under Biya. The 89-year-old runs the country through a very small circle of aides, whom he appoints and banishes as he sees fit. Openly talking about succession is taboo even for his closest supporters, and Biya has overseen a ruthless crackdown on dissent since his highly contested re-election in 2018.
Denis Sassou Nguesso (38 year rule) - Republic of the Congo
Denis Sassou Nguesso, 78, has been in power for 38 years, albeit not uninterruptedly. He was president from 1979 to 1992, then returned to office in 1997 after a civil war. He was re-elected in 2016 after the passing of a new constitution, then won a fourth mandate on March 21 this year.
Yoweri Museveni (36 year rule) - Uganda
In Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, 78, has led his country for 36 years since January 1986. He was re-elected in January 2021 for a sixth term after a contested campaign.
A Supreme Court ruling to abolish an age ceiling of 75 allowed him to stand once again and continue serving.
King Mswati III (36 year rule) - Kingdom of Eswatini
Eswatini, Africa's last remaining absolute monarchy, has been ruled by King Mswati III for 36 years. He ascended to the throne in April 1986 aged just 18.
Isaias Afwerki (29 year rule) - Eritrea
Isaias Afwerki, 76, has ruled the Horn of Africa nation with an iron fist since independence in May 1993.