When we talk of African presidents, Icons like Nelson Mandela and Mwalimu Julius Nyerere among others stand tall in the list for their legendary actions that transformed the African Continent into what it is today. Their immense contribution led to independence from colonial rule, making them become global icons of exemplary and selfless leadership.
However, Africa has also had a surplus of sit-tight leaders who chose to remain in office despite poor health or becoming unpopular with their fellow countrymen, most of whom have died in office due to health complications and being targeted by folks eyeing their seats.
Here are some of the African Presidents who have passed on while receiving medical treatment abroad.
1.Robert Mugabe – Zimbabwe
He was the founding father of Zimbabwe who ruled the country with an iron fist for more than three decades. Mugabe passed on early this morning aged in 95 while receiving treatment in Singapore where he had been admitted since April. Mugabe had led Zimbabwe in 1980 before being ousted from power after a military coup in 2017.
2.Idi Amin Dada – Uganda
He was a Ugandan military officer who served as the President of Uganda from 1971 to 1979. Idi Amin is considered one of the most brutal despots in world history. On 19 July 2003, Amin’s fourth wife, reported that he was in a coma and near death at the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Centre in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, from kidney failure. He was aged 78 years
3.Malam Bacai Sanha – Guinea Bissau
Aged 64, Malam passed on while still in office in January 2012 at a French hospital. He had come to power following the assassination of the country’s previous leader, at a time when the country needed to be cleaned up of drug trafficking, crime, and corruption.
4. Michael Sata – Zambia
He came to power in 2011 after winning elections. He was a leader for three years before his death aged 77. There were widespread rumors about his deteriorating health and his conspicuous absence at major functions also deepened speculation about his well-being. He died whiles seeking medical treatment in the United Kingdom with the cause of death being “undisclosed illness.”
5. Omar Bongo – Gabon
Omar came to power in 1967 and ruled the oil-rich Central African nation for over four decades until his death. He is one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders till his death in 2009. He ruled for 42 years and died aged 72 years in the Spanish city of Barcelona from an undisclosed illness.
6. Umaru Musah Yar’Adua – Nigeria
He won controversial polls after his predecessor Obansanjo’s plans to extend his stay from 1999 – 2007 got stiff opposition from the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). Umaru came to power in 2007 and ruled for 3 years. He passed on aged 58 from Pericarditis which is an inflammation of a membrane around the heart while in Saudi Arabia and was flown back to Nigeria for burial.
7. Meles Zenawi – Ethiopia
He is touted as the most powerful Ethiopian politician from the 90s through to the 2000s. He served as President from 1991 to 1995 and Prime Minister from 1995 till his death. Zenawi rose to power in 1991 and was the leader of the country for over two decades. He led the country in fighting the Derg regime in the liberation war that lasted years. He died at the age of 57 in Belgium.