Idi Amin(Uganda, 1971-1979)
Idi Amin was the commander of the Ugandan army when he seized power in 1971. He ruled for eight years, during which time he earned the nickname “butcher of Uganda” for his brutality.
According to amnesty international, Amin was responsible for the death of more than 700,000 Ugandan people during his tenure. After the United Kingdom shut its embassy in Uganda in 1977 because of Amin’s oppression, the warlord declared that he had single handedly defeated the British empire, declaring himself, “His Excellency President for life, Field Marshal Alhaji Doctor Idi Amin Dada, VC, DSO, MC, Lord of all the beasts of the earth and fishes of the seas and conqueror of the British empire in Africa in general and Uganda in particular. He died in Saudi Arabia as a refugee in 2003.
Jean Bedel Bokassa (Central African Republic, 1966-1979)
Jean Bedel Bokassa, also known as the “Butcher of Bangui”, was the leader of the Central African Republic and its successor state, the Central African Empire. He killed his own cousin in a coup d’etat on New year’s eve in 1965.
Bokassa named himself President for life in 1972 and Emperor in 1976, declaring a monarchy. His coronation ceremony cost an estimated 20 million U.S. dollars, one-third of the country’s budget for a year. He was known for his lavish spending during his time in power and was also accused of cannibalism.
In January 1979, his troops massacred more than 300 citizens who were rioting in Bangui because of expensive food prices, and he later on killed 100 school children who refused to buy expensive uniforms bearing his image. The backlash from this incident forced Bokassa into exile and out of power.
Muammar Quadhafi (Libya, 1969-2011)
Quadhafi ruled Libya from 1969 to January 2011, when protests that eventually escalated into a civil war forced him from power. He stockpiled chemical weapons while he was in power and was accused of supporting terrorists throughout the world in the 1970s and 1980s.
Quadhafi was implicated in the bombing of a Berlin discotheque in 1986 that killed 3 and wounded over 200, prompting the Reagan administration to launch air strikes against Libya. He was also blamed for the lockerbie bombing that killed more than 270 people when their plane exploded over Scotland. Libya fought wars against Egypt, Tanzania and Chad under the command of Quadhafi.
During the civil war in Libya, Quadhafi provided viagra to his soldiers as drug to rape women as a form of intimidating. Sources also claim that he ordered indiscriminate killing of civilians in an attempt to stop the revolution, many feared that he would use his stockpile of chemical weapons against the Libya rebels. He killed thousands of people during his time before being assassinated by Libyan rebels in 2011.
Charles G Taylor (Liberia, 1997-2003)
Charles G Taylor ruled Liberia from 1997 to 2003, following his victory in a very bloody civil war. In 1989, Taylor led an uprising from Cote d’ivoire into Liberia, beginning a 7-years Civil War that killed almost 300000 people. After the war, he was elected president of Liberia amid rumors that he will resume fighting if he did not win the democratic election.
“He killed my Ma, he killed my PA but I will vote for him”, his famous campaign slogan ran. He lost power in Liberia following a second Civil War and is presently being held in the United Nations detention unit in the Hague, where he is on trial for war crimes including harboring members of Al-Qaeda.
Robert Mugabe (Zimbabwe, 1980-2017)
After the Rhodesian Bush war, Mugabe became known as a national hero in a liberated Zimbabwe and was elected president of the country in 1980.
The Zimbabwean fifth brigade were trained by North Koreans in 1981, after Mugabe reached an agreement with Kim sung ll to crush an uprising in western Zimbabwe in the mid 1980s. More than 20,000 people were killed during that period which Zimbabwe refer to as “Gukurahundi”. The fifth brigade was known for burning people alive and for forcing people to dig their own Graves in public executions.
In 2007 opposition leaders were jailed and tortured to death, human rights groups say. Robert Mugabe died while on a wheelchair in 2019.
It seems Africa is “blessed” with an abundance of bad leaders. There’s been a lot of coup and death across the continent, and we can only hope for better leaders to take charge of
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