Although all dictators are bad in their own way, there's one insidious aspect of despotism that is most infuriating and galling to me: the disturbing frequency with which many despots, as in Kyrgyzstan, began their careers as erstwhile "freedom fighters" who were supposed to have liberated their people. . .The top (worst) five on his list:
I call these revolutionaries-turned-tyrants "crocodile liberators," joining the ranks of other fine specimens: the Swiss bank socialists who force the people to pay for economic losses while stashing personal gains abroad, the quack revolutionaries who betray the ideals that brought them to power, and the briefcase bandits who simply pillage and steal. Here's my list of the world's worst dictators. I have ranked them based on ignoble qualities of perfidy, cultural betrayal, and economic devastation. If this account of their evils makes you cringe, just imagine living under their rule.
1) Kim Jong Il of North Korea (16 years in power)
2) Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe (30 years)
3) Than Shwe of Burma (18 years)
4) Omar Hassan al-Bashir of Sudan (21 years)
5) Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov of Turkmenistan (4 years)
Read the whole thing for the remaining despots and Ayittey's colorful descriptions.
(via reader Marc)