5 African Presidents Who Groomed Their Sons for Power

In Africa, we have heard of incumbent presidents grooming their sons to grab power without opposition.  The speculations that these presidents have dynastic successions do not come back as false.  Take, for instance, Congo-Brazzaville’s President Denis Sassou-Nguesso appointed his son Denis-Christel as a cabinet minister.

Gabon President Ali Bongo Ondimba becomes the most powerful man in the country. He is the son of Omar Bongo, who ruled from 1967 to 2009.   In the Democratic Republic of Congo, Joseph Kabila took over and ruled for 17 years after his father Laurent-Désiré was assassinated in 2001.

Here are some of the presidents who groomed their sons to become powerful rulers:


Botswana has a history of father and son becoming presidents of the nation. Ian Khama is the son of Sir Seretse Khama.  Seretse was Botswana’s first post-independence leader.  When he was exiled to England, his son Ian was born on 27 February 1953.  Ian became the president in 2008 and ruled for two tenures.  He was regarded as an authoritarian president, but was said to be an efficient and decisive leader. Ian Khama has since been succeeded by Mokgweetsi Masisi who remains the current president of Botswana.


Kenya may be famous for its safari, but it has a serious political history. The 4th president of Kenya, Uhuru Kenyatta was a power player. He is the son of Jomo Kenyatta, the founding president of the country. He was regarded as the youngest president in the country. He was a different president who traveled out of his country several times. However, his father stepped out of Kenya only twice while he ruled for 15 years. Uhuru Kenyatta is the current president of Kenya.

Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)

President Laurent-Désiré Kabila was assassinated in office.  His son, Joseph Kabila, assumed the Office of the President ten days after this assassination. Joseph Kabila was the first president in the world to be born in the 1970s. While his father married three wives, he was comfortable with one wife.   The Kabilas ruled over a decade. Joseph Kabila has been replaced by Félix Tshisekedi who took over power in 2019.


In Gabon, Ali Bongo Ondimba took the seat of power after the death of his father, Omar Bongo Ondimba. His father was a president from 1967 to 2009.  Ali contested and won the election. However, he was like his father in the allegation of corruption to live larger than the country. Ali Bongo Ondimba is the current president of Gabon.



Togo is another country while father and son become presidents. Faure Essozimna Gnassingbé, who had been groomed for years for the seat took over after his father, Gnassingbé Eyadéma died on his seat.  However, he was rejected by international leaders and went on to contest to win the seat. The Gnassingbé family is a powerful family that started ruling the country post independence. That means they have ruled for over 50 years. Gnnasinge rules for about 35 years while Faure has been ruling for 16 years. Faure is still the current president of Togo.



Mauritius is another country which has seen both father and son rule. The father Seewoosagur Ramgoolam was the first prime minister of the island nation and rules the country between 1983 to 1985. His son Navinchandra Ramgoolam is the current prime minister of Mauritius and had his reign from 1995 – 2000.


While the trends of father and son ruling nations is not new, The Bush family in the United States stand out as an example. Korea and Philippines are also countries where fathers and sons have ruled, the key difference however is in most of these countries, the electorates saw merits in electing the sons as new leaders in their countries. In some of these countries in Africa, these leadership positions are treated as birth rights that must be passed on from father to sons.