The stuck-fast presidents
In April voters in Chad, Djibouti and Equatorial Guinea saw their respective presidents – Idriss Déby, Ismaïl Guelleh and Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo – re-elected.
This followed familiar scenes of opposition intimidation, electoral violence and unlikely margins of victory amid media blackouts.
The first two leaders are a protected species by virtue of their governments’ contribution to the West’s – and now to China’s – preoccupation with the global war on terror.
Chad actively participates in efforts to suppress Islamist militants in the Sahel and hosts 3,000 French soldiers in the Barkhane base.
Djibouti hosts a US base, from which drones patrol the skies over Yemen and the Horn, while Beijing is building a naval base that it says will contribute to regional security.
Both Déby and Guelleh changed their constitutions to stay in power.
Obiang meanwhile, who recently called for UN Security Council reform, alongside his friend, President Robert Mugabe, promises that he will not stay in power forever despite winning by a comfortable 99% of the vote on 24 April.
Déby and Guelleh, too, have said the same thing before.