Mugabe, Zenawi, Bashir, Afwerki, Mubarak, Biya… World’s worst despots list

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A United States based think tank, Foreign Policy/Fund for Peace has ranked President Mugabe as the second worse despots in the world after North Korean Kim Jongil. The nearly 90-ear-old Zimbabwean president is followed by the presidents of Sudan, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Libya, Chad, Equatorial Guinea, Egypt…

In an annual report released on Tuesday the think tank gave the 86
year old strongman the number one spot in Africa. “A liberation ‘hero’ in the struggle for independence who has since transformed himself into a murderous despot, Mugabe has arrested and tortured the opposition, squeezed his economy into astounding negative growth and billion-per cent inflation, and funnelled off a juicy cut for himself using currency manipulation and offshore accounts.” the think tank wrote on Mugabe.

Mugabe, has been in power since 1980 and is showing no signs of retiring soon. The 86 year old recently told Zimbabweans that he is prepared to stand for another term of office when elections are held, probably in 2011.

The list which does not have a single European ranks more than ten African heads of states as the world’s worst despots. Sudanese president Omar Hassan Al-Bashir who is under International Criminal Court (ICC) arrest warrant is second, followed by Isalas Afwerki (Eritrea), Meles Zenawi (Ethiopia), Muammar Al-Qaddafi (Libya), Idriss Deby of Chad, Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo (Equatorial Guinea), Hosni Mubarak (Egypt), Yahya Jammeh (Gambia), Blaise Compaore (Burkina Faso), Yowewi Museveni (Uganda), Paul Kagame (Rwanda) and Paul Biya of Cameroon, are among other figures like Hugo Chávez of Venezuela, Ahmadinejad of Iran, Than Shwe of Burma… to appear on the list.

Africa and Latin America

 4. OMAR HASSAN AL-BASHIR of Sudan: A megalomaniac zealot who has quashed all opposition, Bashir is responsible for the deaths of
millions of Sudanese and has been indicted by the International
Criminal Court for war crimes. Bashir’s Arab militias, the janjaweed,
may have halted their massacres in Darfur, but they continue to
traffic black Sudanese as slaves (Bashir himself has been accused of
having had several at one point). Years in power: 21

 6. ISAIAS AFWERKI of Eritrea: A crocodile liberator, Afwerki has
turned his country into a national prison in which independent media
are shut down, elections are categorically rejected, indefinite
military service is mandatory, and the government would rather support
Somali militants than its own people.

 9.MELES ZENAWI of Ethiopia: Worse than the former Marxist dictator he ousted nearly two decades ago, Zenawi has clamped down on the opposition, stifled all dissent, and rigged elections. Like a true
Marxist revolutionary, Zenawi has stashed millions in foreign banks
and acquired mansions in Maryland and London in his wife’s name,
according to the opposition — even as his barbaric regime collects a
whopping $1 billion in foreign aid each year.

 11. MUAMMAR AL-QADDAFI of Libya: An eccentric egoist infamous for his indecipherably flamboyant speeches and equally erratic politics,
Qaddafi runs a police state based on his version of Mao’s Red Book —
the Green Book — which includes a solution to “the Problem of
Democracy.” Repressive at home, Qaddafi masquerades as Africa’s king
of kings abroad (the African Union had to politely insist that he step
down as its rotating head).

 13. IDRISS DÉBY of Chad: Having led a rebel insurgency against a
former dictator, Déby today faces a similar challenge — from one of
his own former cabinet officials, among others. To repel would-be coup
leaders, Déby has drained social spending accounts to equip the
military, co-opted opposition-leader foes, and is now building a moat
around the capital, N’Djamena. Years in power.

 14. TEODORO OBIANG NGUEMA MBASOGO of Equatorial Guinea: Obiang and his family literally own the economy, having reportedly amassed a fortune exceeding $600 million while the masses are left in desperate poverty. Equatorial Guinea’s extraordinary oil wealth puts its GDP per capita on par with many European states — if only it were evenly shared. Instead, revenues remain a “state secret.”

 15. HOSNI MUBARAK of Egypt: A senile and paranoid autocrat whose sole preoccupation is self-perpetuation in office, Mubarak is suspicious of even his own shadow. He keeps a 30-year-old emergency law in place to squelch any opposition activity and has groomed his son, Gamal, to succeed him. (No wonder only 23 per cent of Egyptians bothered to vote in the 2005 presidential election.)

 16.YAHYA JAMMEH of Gambia: This eccentric military buffoon has vowed to rule for 40 years and claims to have discovered the cure for
HIV/AIDS. (Jammeh also claims he has mystic powers and will turn
Gambia into an oil-producing country; no luck yet.) A narcissist at
heart, the dictator insists on being addressed as His Excellency
Sheikh Professor Alhaji Dr. Yahya Abdul-Azziz Jemus Junkung Jammeh.

 17.HUGO CHÁVEZ of Venezuela: The quack leader of the Bolivarian
Revolution, Chávez promotes a doctrine of participatory democracy in
which he is the sole participant, having jailed opposition leaders,
extended term limits indefinitely, and closed independent media.

 18. BLAISE COMPAORÉ of Burkina Faso: A tin-pot despot with no vision and no agenda, save self-perpetuation in power by liquidating
opponents and stifling dissent, Compaoré has lived up to the low
standards of his own rise to power, after murdering his predecessor,
Thomas Sankara, in a 1987 coup.

 19. YOWERI MUSEVENI of Uganda: After leading a rebel insurgency that took over Uganda in 1986, Museveni declared: “No African head of state should be in power for more than 10 years.” But 24 years later, he is
still here, winning one “coconut election” after another in which
other political parties are technically legal but a political rally of
more than a handful of people is not.

 20. PAUL KAGAME of Rwanda: A liberator who saved the Tutsis from
complete extermination in 1994, Kagame now practices the same ethnic
apartheid he sought to end. His Rwandan Patriotic Front dominates all
levels of power: the security forces, the civil service, the judiciary, banks, universities, and state-owned corporations. Those who challenge the president are accused of being a hatemonger or divisionist and arrested.

 21. RAÚL CASTRO of Cuba: Afflicted with intellectual astigmatism, the second brother Castro is pitifully unaware that the revolution he
leads is obsolete, an abysmal failure, and totally irrelevant to the
aspirations of the Cuban people. He blames the failure of the
revolution on foreign conspiracies — which he then uses to justify
even more brutal clampdowns.

 23. PAUL BIYA of Cameroon: A suave bandit who has reportedly amassed a personal fortune of more than $200 million and the mansions to go with it, Biya has co-opted the opposition into complete submission. Not that he’s worried about elections; he has rigged the term limit laws
twice to make sure the party doesn’t end anytime soon.

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