When Zimbabweans celebrated after the military toppled Robert Mugabe in late 2017, few could have foreseen that just over a year later their economy would be collapsing and soldiers would be on the streets. It’s a scenario that’s played out all too often when a strongman who has ruled for decades leaves the stage. For almost all of Mugabe’s nearly four decades in charge, his decisions were unquestioned, and his governing Zanu-PF’s grip on power rarely wavered. By replacing him with Emmerson Mnangagwa, the military won a factional battle within Zanu-PF, weakening it, and sidelined the once-powerful police force and secret service that were key Mugabe allies. “The glue it had in the past 38 years, that cohesive, forced consensus under Mugabe, it’s gone,” Tendai Biti, a senior leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, said in an interview in Johannesburg. What’s happening today in Zimbabwe echoes the experiences of other African countries and bears similarities with the ...

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