Africa is known to create political dynasties that end up holding the highest office for decades, which often end up being perceived as birth-right dynasties. Seven countries, excluding Morocco and Swaziland which are kingdoms, have had or currently are having a son being the president, immediately or years after, his father held that seat. These countries include; Gabon, Kenya, Togo, Mauritius, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). And in Malawi where two brothers Bingu wa Mutharika and Peter Mutharika have served as presidents of that country.
Political dynasties don’t exist in Africa alone, but around the world. In the United States, the sixth president John Quincy Adams was the son of the second president, John Adams. And in 2001, George W. Bush was elected the 43rd president, and his father, George H.W. Bush, had served as the 41st president of the United States. In Canada, Justin Trudeau’s father, Pierre Trudeau, also served as prime minister of Canada. In East and South Asia, we have seen the likes of former South Korean president Pak Geunhye, former Philippines president Corazon Aquino and former Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, as daughters who served after their fathers. In Pakistan, a husband took over from his wife, Benazir Bhutto. So, political dynasties are not just an African phenomenon.
Here is a list of African presidents and prime minister who ascended to political power after their fathers, either by direct succession or years later, in systems of government that are not monarchies.
Ali Bongo Ondimba (born Alain Bernard Bongo; 9 February 1959), sometimes known as Ali Bongo, is a Gabonese leader who has been President of Gabon since October 2009. Ali Bongo is the son of Omar Bongo, who was President of Gabon from 1967 until his death in 2009. During his father’s presidency, he was Minister of Foreign Affairs from 1989 to 1991 and represented Bongoville as a Deputy in the National Assembly from 1991 to 1999; subsequently he was Minister of Defense from 1999 to 2009. Following his father’s death after 41 years in power, he was first elected in the August 2009 presidential election. He was re-elected in August 2016, in elections marred by numerous irregularities, arrests, human rights violations and post-election violence. Bongo is also President of the Gabonese Democratic Party.
President of Kenya
Uhuru Muigai Kenyatta (born 26 October 1961) is a Kenyan politician and businessman who is the fourth and current President of the Republic of Kenya, since March 2013. He served as the Member of Parliament (MP) for Gatundu South from 2002 to 2013. Currently the party leader and a member of the Jubilee Party of Kenya, he was previously involved with The National Alliance and before that the Kenya African National Union. He is the son of Jomo Kenyatta, who was Kenya’s first President from 1964 until his death in 1978.
President of Togo
Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé Eyadéma (born 6 June 1966) is a Togolese politician who has been the President of Togo since 2005. Before assuming the presidency, he was appointed by his father, President Gnassingbé Eyadéma, as Minister of Equipment, Mines, Posts, and Telecommunications, serving from 2003 to 2005. His father ruled Togo from 1967 until his death in 2005. Following President Eyadéma’s death, Gnassingbé was immediately installed as President with support from the army. Doubts regarding the constitutional legitimacy of the succession led to heavy regional pressure being placed on Gnassingbé, and he subsequently resigned on 25 February. He then won a controversial presidential election on 24 April 2005, and was sworn in as President.
President of Ghana
Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo (born William Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo; 29 March 1944) is the President of Ghana, in office since January 2017. He previously served as Attorney General from 2001 to 2003 and as Minister for Foreign Affairs from 2003 to 2007. He was chosen as the NPP’s candidate for a third time in the 2016 elections and defeated Mahama in the first round (winning 53.85% of the votes), which marked the first time in a Ghanaian presidential election that an opposition candidate won a majority outright in the first round. His father, Edward Akufo-Addo, was President of Ghana in the Second Republic from 31 August 1970 until his deposition by coup d’état on 13 January 1972.
Former President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo
Joseph Kabila Kabange (born 4 June 1971) is a Congolese politician who served as President of the Democratic Republic of the Congo between January 2001 and January 2019. He took office ten days after the assassination of his father, President Laurent-Désiré Kabila. His father was president from May 1997 until his death on January 2001. Joseph Kabila was elected as President in 2006 and re-elected in 2011 for a second term. Since stepping down after the 2018 election, Kabila, as a former president, will be a senator for life.
Former President of Botswana
Serêtsê Khama Ian Khama (born 27 February 1953) is a Motswana former military officer and retired politician who served as the fourth President of the Republic of Botswana from 1 April 2008 to 1 April 2018. After serving as Commander of the Botswana Defence Force, he entered politics and served as Vice-President of Botswana from 1998 to 2008, then succeeded Festus Mogae as President on 1 April 2008. He won a full term in the 2009 election and was re-elected in October 2014. His father, Sir Seretse Goitsebeng Maphiri Khama, was the first President of Botswana, who served from 1966 until his death in 1980.
Former Prime Minister of Mauritius
Navinchandra Ramgoolam (born 14 July 1947) is a Mauritian politician who was Prime Minister of Mauritius from 2005 to 2014 and leader of the Labour Party. He was Leader of the Opposition from 1991 to 1995. He served as Prime Minister for the first time from December 1995 until September 2000, and became Leader of the Opposition again from October 2000 to 4 July 2005. On 5 July 2005, he became prime minister for a second term after his Alliance Sociale won the general elections. He served again as Prime Minister from 2005 to 2014, when he was defeated afterwards. His father, Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam, served as the first prime minister of Mauritius from March 1968 to June 1982.