Thomas Sankara is the only man on this list who came to power through a coup. But that is because he is also arguably the only African military leader who was ahead of his time in his approach to development.
Sankara oversaw an increase in food production, improved participation of women in commerce and the economy and forced the middle class to be sensitive to the plight of the poor.
The man who led the coup against Sankara, Blaise Compaore ruled from 1987 to 2014. Compaore himself is reportedly wanted by Burkina Faso for the murder of Sankara.