Robert Mugabe may have ruled the country for 37 years, but it took just a few hours for his gleeful party leadership to rubber-stamp his political end

Robert Mugabe liked to show off his political power at theatrical gatherings of his Zanu-PF party in a concrete conference hall in downtown Harare. Here, a jubilant but obedient crowd would dispatch rivals and cheer on the ageing president for decade after decade.

On Sunday, the same men and women gathered in the same hall for another day of political theatre, but this time Mugabe was victim, not mastermind. The crowd – one that for years bent to his every will – had gathered to finish off what the army started a week earlier.

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