The vile nature of Robert Mugabe’s regime has been obvious for the best part of two decades.
Zimbabwe’s president entered his 80s in 2004, so while there was little sign of him losing power it seemed at least that his old age might result in the presidency transferring to a more reasonable figure.
This thuggish, racist man has stayed on in power until well into his 90s (he is now aged 93).
It seems at last that his leadership is at an end, after an apparent coup.
The army said that it had overseen a “bloodless correction” to restore democracy, which sounds like a coup.
Mugabe had held power for 37 years, but it was not until the 1990s that he began to turn on the white farmers.
Since then he has turned what was the breadbasket of Africa into a ruined country.
The persecution and violence against the farmers continues, but white people in Zimbabwe have been almost eliminated.
The country once had a quarter of a million white people. Now it has a few thousand.
The only nation in Africa that still has a large white population is South Africa, still measured in the millions.
Its farmers are also suffering violence, as they are in Kenya too, albeit in both countries the persecution is on a much smaller scale than that presided over by Mugabe.
Like many African dictators, Mugabe and his family live in luxury while many of his people live in poverty.
But his removal from power does not mean that things will improve in Zimbabwe. It would be hard for the country’s situation to get much worse, but there is every possibility that it will remain a corrupt and failed state, like so much of Africa.
This is a tragic state of affairs. That continent’s population is increasing at a rapid rate and it is urgently in need of good governance.