Powerful and Dangerous
World leaders undoubtedly find themselves in some of the hardest jobs on the planet. Faced with the task of pleasing millions of people, keeping them safe, and preventing threats both foreign and domestic, it’s no wonder that we see our own presidents age so quickly while in office.
Naturally, it’s impossible to please every single person in a given country, so leaders must try their hardest to appease the masses as well as their political party while still following their own intuition and maintaining some degree of integrity. Or do they?
Those who rise to power face the difficult decision of peacefully giving it away when their time is done or otherwise fighting to maintain it. While it might seem foreign in the United States–where we have carefully implemented terms for most elected officials as well as an enforced system of checks and balances–many other countries do not experience the same democracy, and leaders instead grow power hungry and cruel.
Though he jokes about rape and death squads, politician Rodrigo “Digong” Duterte was just elected president of the Philippines. Having called extrajudicial executions and vigilante murder groups “the most effective way to crush kidnapping and illegal drugs,” Duterte isn’t even the worst leader on this list.
Meet some of the scariest and most powerful people on the planet.
Rodrigo “The Punisher” Duterte
Known for speaking candidly and with unabashed opinions, Duterte has said things like “I don’t care if I go to hell as long as the people I serve will live in paradise.” And while that might sound like a magnanimous thing for a leader to say, he means it quite literally, and he’s been called out by various watch groups like Amnesty International, the Human Rights Watch, and even the Commission on Human Rights for supporting extrajudicial executions. Although he’s helped advance women’s rights, Duterte is a self-confessed womanizer, and he even made an infamously distasteful joke about sexual assault after the rape and murder of an Australian missionary during a hostage crisis in the Philippines in 1989.
Last year, before he was elected, he said he would kill upward of 100,000 criminals while in office, earning him the nickname “The Punisher.”
President of Zimbabwe since 1980, Robert Mugabe is consistently ranked as one of the worst dictators in the world. His policy of “re-indigenization,” which specifically targets white citizens of Zimbabwe, appears to be blatant racism, and yet he’s found support from black Zimbabweans wishing to make reparations for a history of European colonization. The country is considered one of the world’s most corrupt, and Mugabe’s time in office has been described as a “reign of terror.” He has also been accused of committing voter fraud in order to maintain his office. In 2015, he was elected as the Chairperson of the African Union.