King Mswati III of Swaziland has made it into the Top Twenty charts of worst dictators over the past 40 years, in a survey published on the New York Times’ website.
The king, the last absolute monarch in sub-Saharan Africa, came ahead of dictators in Iran, Zimbabwe, Myanmar (Burma) and Uzbekistan.
King Mswati came in at number 20 in the chart.
The ‘Dictator Index’, is described by its creator Renard Sexton as a measure of the relative effectiveness of national leaders with authoritarian tendencies in the last 40 years or so.
Only people who were in power since 1970 have been included and only leaders who managed to stay in power for 15 or more years have made it to the final round of evaluation.
Sexton says, the dictators have been measured in six main categories that define well-executed despotic rule. First, as alluded to by the cliché, “Possession is nine-tenths of the law,” the number of years a leader was in possession of national power is an important factor. Second, allowing elections and/or democratic processes is ranked on a 0 to 5 scale, with 5 being free and fair elections and 0 being absolutely none. Candidates, naturally, receive Dictator Index points for being less democratic.
Similarly, tolerance of opposition or the publication of opposition ideas is ranked on a 0 to 5 scale, with 0 being no tolerance of opposition, and 5 being a free and influential opposition. The fourth factor is the level of development that the country achieved during the rule of the dictator, as compared with its local region and/or comparable countries. This is measured using the United Nations Development Program’s Human Development Index (HDI) and where those data are not available, Life Expectancy at birth as measured by the United Nations Department of Social and Economic Affairs.
Fifth, the candidates are measured on how much wealth they were able to expropriate through their charge as a national leader. Again, this is based on a 0 to 5 ranking, using lifestyle and broad brackets of proven personal wealth.
Lastly, the Dictator Index takes into account the size of each country, assuming that it is generally harder keep hold of a huge country like Egypt or Indonesia than a small principality like Brunei or Swaziland.
To see the full charts click here.