Abusive national leadership

Other Names:
Tyrannical dictatorship
Rule by fiat
Arbitrary leadership
Psychopathic national leaders
Self-aggrandizing national leaders
Undemocratic leadership

Some despots, once secure in their hold over a country, feel free to indulge in a wide range of arbitrary acts. These may include grandiose public works at the expense of the poor, self-aggrandisement, adoption of unusual dress style, attribution of grandiloquent titles, blatant favouritism in appointments, unwarranted claims to expertise and wisdom, and imposition of an idiosyncratic ideology through the education system (possibly based on an extensive volume of unsubstantiated writing). Policies may result in extensive violence to major sections of the population, including forced resettlement, systematic violations of human rights and extra-judicial executions, and support for international terrorism.


Only 6 of the more than 150 heads of state in the history of post-colonial Africa have relinquished power voluntarily. The remainder were evicted or assassinated in military coups for economic incompetence, political tyranny and other failings. Even though many of them gained independence from colonial rule, this did not enable them to take on the leadership of their countries effectively and avoid economic ruin.

Related UN Sustainable Development Goals:
GOAL 16: Peace and Justice Strong Institutions
Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Date of last update
04.10.2020 – 22:48 CEST