Top 3 African Leaders That Were Imprisoned | “It is said that no one truly knows a nation until one has been inside its jails” – Nelson Mandela

There are a few African leaders who have influenced some notable changes across African countries one way or the other. Some are recognized for the influences and sacrifices they have made to effect change in their respective nations while others have been noted for the effect of their corrupt practices or their abuse of office. It is quite impossible to say that any politician is completely clean or devoid of a malpractice or mistakes made during their tenure in office. However, what is more ideally acceptable is that on the scale of weight the positive changes and influences affected by such a leader outweighs any mistakes or negative outcome of their leadership. Here are top 3 African leaders who were imprisoned for their actions driven by their passion to effect change in the respective countries:

Nelson Mandela
  1. Nelson Mandela of South Africa: He was sentenced to life in prison in 1962 for conspiring against the state after his militant group Umkhonto we Sizwe, launched a sabotage campaign against the government but was freed in 1990 after serving 27 years. He later became the first black president of South Africa in 1994 at the age of 75years.

    Patrice Lumumba
  2. Patrice Lumumba of Congo: He was once recognized as the most impressive black man to ever walk the continent after his 69-month sentence in 1959 for his anti-colonial fight. He was released after serving nine months in prison and became the Prime Minister of Congo at the young age of 34.

    Olusegun Obasanjo
  3. Olusegun Obasanjo of Nigeria: In 1995, he spoke out against the brutality of Abacha’s regime and was arrested on stacked charges of plotting a coup but was released after the sudden death of Abacha in June 1998. After his release, he contested for and won the presidential elections held in 1999, under the PDP and also won for the second term in 2003.


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