When president Robert Mugabe’s rule ended in the ignominy of a military coup in late 2017, a new democratic era seemed to beckon for Zimbabwe. His successor Emmerson Mnangagwa — who had long been a Mugabe acolyte before falling out of favour — sought to break with the ruinous past, pledging political reforms and an open democracy. But he’s looking increasingly like the man he unseated.

Over the course of 37 years, Mugabe cemented his position in power through a combination of draconian laws and autocratic tactics that were used to harass, intimidate and detain his detractors...

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