Dictator Watch


Kim Jong-Il

Country: North Korea
Ruled: 1994-2011
Deposed:You wish
Exiled:Not yet
Wealth: $4 billion

Kim Jong-Il is a founding member of the Axis of Evil and surely the world’s worst dictator. The Dear Leader’s regime is one of the most repressive. Read more…

Muammar al-Gaddafi

Country: Libya
Deposed:Popular uprising in progress
Wealth: Billions

Bedouin-born Colonel Gaddafi seized power in 1969 in a bloodless coup against Libya’s King Idris and has been in charge ever since. Read more…

Hosni Mubarak

Country: Egypt
Ruled: President, 1981-2011
Deposed: Popular uprising
Exiled: Not yet
Wealth: $25 billion to $70 billion.

Egypt’s paper Pharaoh, who has ruled for almost 30 years, has finally stepped down, and the Swiss government has frozen his bank accounts.
Read more…

Kurmanbek Bakiyev

Country: Kyrgyzstan
Ruled: 2005-2010
Deposed: Mass protests
Exiled: Belarus
Wealth: $300 million +

Kyrg kleptocrat Kurmanbek Bakiyev ruled this former Soviet republic in Central Asia for five years. Read more…

Charles Taylor

Country: Liberia
Ruled: 1997-2003
Deposed: Resigned
Exiled: Nigeria, The Netherlands?
Wealth: $280 million to $3 billion

When Charles Taylor was elected President of Liberia in 1997 he was already Africa’s most powerful warlord who had toppled the previous ruler in an 8-year civil war.Read more…

Ferdinand Marcos

Country: Philippines
Ruled: 1965-1986
Deposed: People Power
Exiled: Hawaii
Wealth: $10 billion

The Philippines’ popular despot Ferdinand Marcos was different from most dictators in that he was elected three times in (reasonably) fair elections. Read more…

Jean-Bedel Bokassa

Country: Central African Republic
Ruled: 1966-1979
Deposed: Foreign Intervention
Exiled: France
Wealth: Squandered

Jean-Bedel Bokassa, self-proclaimed ‘Emperor of Africa’, was perhaps the maddest of the lot. Read more…

Idi Amin

Country: Uganda
Ruled: 1971-1979
Deposed: Invasion
Exiled: Saudi Arabia
Wealth: Unknown

Self-proclaimed ‘Lord of all beasts of the earth and fishes of the seas’, Idi Amin rose through the ranks of Britain’s Kings’ African Rifles to head the Ugandan Army. Read more…

Nursultan Nazarbayev

Country: Kazakhstan
Deposed: Not yet
Exiled: Russia?
Wealth: $7 billion

Kazakh strongman who has ruled the oil-rich Central Asian republic since the Soviet Union disintegrated in 1991. Read more…

Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali

Country: Tunisia
Ruled: President 1987
Deposed: Popular Uprising
Exiled: Saudi Arabia
Wealth: Unconfirmed

After 23 years as Tunisia’s tough man, Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali was forced out in January by a massive popular uprising. Read more…

Jean-Claude ‘Baby Doc’ Duvalier

Country: Haiti
Ruled: 1971-1986
Deposed: Popular uprising
Exiled: France
Wealth: $300 million – $800 million

Baby Doc Duvalier was 19 years old when he took over from father Francois (aka Papa Doc) as Haiti’s dictator in 1971. Read more…


Country: Indonesia
Ruled: 1967-1998
Deposed: Popular uprising
Exiled: Indonesia
Wealth: $15 – $35 billion

In May 1999, Time magazine estimated Suharto’s family fortune at US$15 billion in cash, shares, property, jewellery and art, and claimed he had stashed some US$9 billion in Austrian banks. Read more…

Mobutu Sese Seko

Country: Zaire (now Congolese Democratic Republic)
Ruled: 1965-1997
Deposed: Civil War
Exiled: Morocco
Wealth: $5 billion

General Mobutu sized power in the Congo in the 1960s with CIA backing after the Belgians abandoned their former colony. Read more…

Sani Abacha

Country: Nigeria
Ruled: 1993-1998
Deposed: Poisoned?
Exiled: n/a
Wealth: $2 billion – $5 billion

English-trained General Sani Abacha seized power in Nigeria in 1993, banned political parties and demonstrations, censored the press and cracked down on dissent. Read more…

Robert Mugabe

Country: Zimbabwe
Ruled: 1980-
Deposed: Keep hoping
Exiled: Who would have him?
Wealth: $5 billion – $10 billion

Zimbabwe’s president Robert Mugabe has clung to power for more than 30 years and shows no signs of letting go. Read more….

Sapamurat Niyazov

Country: Turkmenistan
Ruled: 1990-2006
Wealth: $3 billion

Sapamurat Niyazov ran Turkmenistan for 16 years after the Soviet Union fell apart, imprisoning, torturing and exiling political opponents. Read more…

Saddam Hussein

Country: Iraq
Exiled:Executed in Iraq
Wealth: $7 billion – $40 billion

The mother of all dictators, Iraq’s Saddam Hussein gassed, tortured and killed thousands of political opponents in his 24-year reign of terror. Read more…

Dictator Watch is a work in progress, who do you want to see profiled? Email us your suggestions.