The authorities scheduled a runoff, but in the wake of beatings and killings of opposition supporters, Mr. Tsvangirai, taking refuge in the Dutch Embassy in Harare, withdrew from the ballot. Mr. Mugabe won with an official tally of 85 percent of the vote in a one-horse race.
Months of tortuous negotiation followed before Mr. Mugabe, as president, was able to swear in a reluctant Mr. Tsvangirai as his prime minister. It was the first time since the postelection government of 1980 that Mr. Mugabe had admitted an adversary into his cabinet. But the reality was that he was still very much in charge, retaining control of the military, the intelligence services and other tools of power.
Once again he had emasculated his opponents, and while he was partly restricted by international travel bans and sanctions imposed by the European Union and the United States, he nonetheless maintained an international presence, attending the annual session of the United Nations General Assembly and the inauguration of Pope Francis at the Vatican.
Back home, his aides and generals were accused of profiting from diamond fields in the east, and outsiders feared that the proceeds would be used to finance more political malfeasance.
In the disputed 2013 elections, Mr. Mugabe was again declared the clear winner, ending the power-sharing arrangement with Mr. Tsvangirai. Many Zimbabweans seemed resigned to this display of Mr. Mugabe’s thirst for power.
“I will never, never sell my country,” he declared in 2008. “I will never, never, never surrender. Zimbabwe is mine, I am a Zimbabwean, Zimbabwe for Zimbabweans.”