As recession bites, inflation rises and government’s currency reforms fail to find traction, Zimbabweans fear they are being dragged back into a past they would rather not revisit. It’s not just a fear of the hyperinflation that wrecked the value of the Zimbabwe dollar and rendered savings and pensions worthless; of as much concern is the echo of a more authoritarian period in the country’s recent history.

When Zimbabwe adopted the US dollar in 2009, it was inconceivable that the country would ever return to the hyperinflation that had preceded it. Under hyperinflation, prices often changed as much as five times a day, and a scarcity of goods meant people were forced to spend hours in different queues. But with the adoption of the US dollar and a host of other, stronger currencies, prices stabilised almost overnight...

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