Recent Books: Africa: Power Politics in Zimbabwe

By Mills, Greg | Foreign Affairs, March/April 2015 | Go to article overview

Recent Books: Africa: Power Politics in Zimbabwe


Mills, Greg, Foreign Affairs


Power Politics in Zimbabwe BY MICHAEL BRATTON. Lynne Rienner, 2014, 281 pp. $68.00.

Frequent predictions of the demise of President Robert Mugabe and Zimbabwe's collapse have underestimated Mugabe's political abilities and staying power and the support he enjoys among Zimbabweans. In his transformation from liberator to tyrant, Mugabe has managed to ride out even the worst self-inflicted economic storms, including hyperinflation. As Bratton's fine book documents, Mugabe's grip on power relies on a patronage-ridden political economy, the efficient authoritarianism of his ruling party, a weak and confused opposition, and a conspiracy of silence among regional leaders, especially in South Africa, who have long refused to denounce Mugabe. This portrait of Harare's own Machiavelli is quite timely: in recent months, Mugabe has orchestrated a purge of sorts, casting out a number of longtime loyalists and paving the way for the rise of his own wife, Grace, and that of a close ally, Emmerson Mnangagwa, who now seems to be his most likely successor. …

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