A Predictable Tragedy

Robert Mugabe and the Collapse of Zimbabwe

Daniel Compagnon



When the southern African country of Rhodesia was reborn as Zimbabwe in 1980, democracy advocates celebrated the defeat of a white supremacist regime and the end of colonial rule. Zimbabwean crowds cheered their new prime minister, freedom fighter Robert Mugabe, with little idea of the misery he would bring them. Under his leadership for the next 30 years, Zimbabwe slid from self-sufficiency into poverty and astronomical inflation. Millions of refugees fled the country. How did the heroic Mugabe become a hated autocrat, and why were so many outside of Zimbabwe blind to his bloody misdeeds for so long?


In this passionate book, Daniel Compagnon delivers an unrelievedly withering indictment of Zimbabwe's post-independence political regime. . . . Wide-ranging and detailed, the analysis is illuminating and provocative.— International Journal of African Historical Studies


Daniel Compagnon is Professor of Political Science at the University of Bordeaux and coauthor of Behind the Smokescreen: The Politics of Zimbabwe's 1995 General Elections.