5. Robert Mugabe – Zimbabwe



The president of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, has not mellowed with age. In fact, the 88-year-old has been more violent and despotic in his waning years than he was when he was younger. As president for the past quarter century and prime minister for seven years before that, Mugabe is one of the longest-sitting dictators. After a contested election in 2008—some reports indicate he may have lost to his former comrade Morgan Tsvangiari—Mugabe’s party launched a brutal crackdown against opposition and human rights activists. Many were kidnapped, tortured, and killed.

Before taking power, Mugabe was an opposition fighter to Ian Smith’s racist white minority government, but as prime minister, he oversaw the mass murder of several hundred of the Ndebele people by the North Korean-trained Fifth Brigade. In 1994, he received Honorary Knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II. After the post-election violence in 2008, his knighthood was annulled—a distinction Mugabe shares with the likes of Benito Mussolini and Romanian dictator Nicolae Ceausescu.

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