With the conviction of former Liberian president and warlord Charles Taylor (pictured) in the Netherlands today, the case casts a glaring spotlight over other war-ravaged countries of Africa that have buckled under the weight of dictatorships and oppression. Here, NewsOne takes a brief look at other African dictators of times past.
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1. Sekou Toure (Guinea) – For more than two and a half decades, Ahmed Sekou Toure ruled Guinea with an iron fist, which was not how he was originally perceived. His people welcomed him as the “Guinean Messiah” as he helped liberate the country from French rule. However, that freedom came with the price of oppression and intolerance of opposition by way of the many “death camps” he instilled in the country. Toure would die in America from cardiac arrest in 1984 while still in rule.
2. Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe) – Ruling his country for 22 years to the day, April 26, Robert Mugabe was once a lauded figure in his homeland. Although he is largely credited for bringing Zimbabwe to freedom and prominence, Mugabe’s iron fist has also been the catalyst for the country being one of Africa’s poorest nations. A long list of cruel crimes have been levied toward the leader, all pointing to Mugabe’s power-hungry aims to crush his opposition.
3. Muammar Gaddafi (Libya) – Muammar Gaddafi, also known as the “brother leader,” ruled his country for more than 30 years and was infamous for his erratic nature and renowned status in the Arab world. Although many Westerners have a view of Gaddafi as a dictator, many in Africa have hailed the leader as a hero. However, many Libyans would come to realize that Gaddafi would begin to crack down on anyone he felt was a disruption to his rule by way of public hangings and other atrocities. Gaddafi would die in the fall of 2011 at the hands of Libyan rebels. The details surrounding his death are still murky to this day.