After 37 years in office, Robert Mugabe’s odds of being removed from power by members of his ruling circle in Zimbabwe were slim. Research on authoritarianism suggests the 93-year-old president was well-positioned to live out his final days in office and join the ranks of the 80 post-World War II dictators who have died in office of natural causes.
The longer a dictator rules, the less likely he is to be toppled in a coup — that’s what history reveals. While concerns about succession loomed large in Zimbabwe, data show that older leaders (ages 65 and up) are at lower risk of losing power in a coup than are their younger despotic counterparts.
Another factor should have worked in Mugabe’s favor: the regime’s revolutionary origins. The shared experience of fighting against the white Rhodesian settler state in the 1960s and 1970s created a particularly strong bond between the civilian leaders
Article source: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/monkey-cage/wp/2017/11/22/what-went-wrong-for-mugabe-most-aging-dictators-dont-get-toppled-by-coups/
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