(FILES) This file photo taken on November 8, 2017 shows Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe (L) addressing party members and supporters gathered at his party headquarters to show support to Grace Mugabe (R) becoming the party's next Vice President after the dismissal of Emerson Mnangagwa. Several tanks were seen moving near the Zimbabwean capital Harare on November 14, 2017 witnesses told AFP, a day after the army warned it could intervene over a purge of ruling party officials. / AFP PHOTO / Jekesai NJIKIZANAJEKESAI NJIKIZANA/AFP/Getty Images
Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe and his wife Grace Mugabe earlier this month © AFP

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When is a coup not a coup? When, as in Zimbabwe this week, the men in the green fatigues take to the airwaves with a carefully worded statement to make it clear that power has not really changed hands.

David Pilling, the FT’s Africa editor, argues in his column that we may be witnessing the continuation of Zanu-PF rule, albeit purged of certain rogue elements. This messy end to Robert Mugabe’s 37 years in power has echoes of King Lear: motives for the military intervention are more to do with settling internal scores, he writes, than preparing a brave new Zimbabwean world of democracy and prosperity.

What, then, might really change for the country’s long-suffering population? Britain, the former colonial power, would be wise to keep a low profile, the FT believes, but there is a role for other African nations in bringing Zimbabwe back into the fold — and allowing the diaspora to return home and rebuild.

Big Tech’s would-be politicians: Edward Luce is unimpressed with Mark Zuckerberg’s grasp of what the US public looks for, and needs, in its future leaders. Not, he writes, guff about online communities.

Is Merkel still queen of the EU?Mehreen Kahn writes from Brussels, as part of the FT’s Future of Europe Project, that Germany may have to cede some power to France as Emmanuel Macron’s star rises.

The wrong data: Economist Diane Coyle says scepticism about growth measures is, well, growing. And explores how GDP methods could be improved.

Best of the rest

Roy Moore tests the limits of Bannon’s ‘Season of War’. Rosie Gray in The Atlantic

Russia is meddling in western politics because it has nothing to lose Robert Service in The Guardian

How are we going to power millions of electric cars in the coming decades? Arnaud Banner in Le Monde

The Tory tide is turning against austerity James Forsyth in The Spectator 

What you’ve been saying.

UK is putting its weakest economic foot forward in negotiations with EU — letter from Dr Nicholas Dorn in London

“Mr Davis’s notions of “trade” simply do not correspond to contemporary realities and trajectories. In a British political economy of three sectors — services including haute finance, manufacturing and agriculture — the first relies heavily upon free movement of services and of people, the latter also being relied upon by agriculture. Advocates of “trade deals” are championing the UK’s weakest and fastest-declining sector, manufacturing. As a strategy, this is plain daft. Time for a rethink.”

Comment from MyCutiePie on Sarah O’Connor’s op-ed, Flexibility comes at a high price, not just in the gig economy 

“I remember the gig economy in the docks in the 50s, it was called ‘the lump’, and gave dock employers control over the work force. It was demoralizing then and still is.”

A positive yield curve is much more important — letter from Harold Seneker in NJ

“Sir, Martin Wolf’s excellent column ‘Unusual times call for unusual strategies from central banks’ implicitly challenges what has become a sacred cow among central bankers: the notion that a 2 per cent inflation rate is “needed” to give central banks room to combat possible recessions. If, as he points out, central bank “firepower” is now practically “infinite” in this age of quantitative easing, then the 2 per cent standard becomes unnecessary. What, then, is the matter with setting actual price stability and a sufficiently positive yield curve as goals, balanced with the goals of full employment and economic growth, whatever that means for rates?”

Today’s opinion

The measurement that holds economic statistics back from reality Improve what is included since the data fail to reflect the real productivity

The Zuckerberg delusion Facebook founder is a digital superstar, but he has poor human skills

 Zimbabwe’s military takeover fits the narrative of its patriarch The generals claim to be saving Robert Mugabe from himself and his enemies

 Free Lunch: In praise of the wealth tax Reform could make the UK system both more efficient and fairer

 The path for Europe Can policymakers find imaginative solutions to protect the EU against future crises?

 Opinion today: What to do about Big Tech The scale of these companies’ influence requires proper engagement from regulators

FT View

FT View: A sharp reality check on the climate challenge National pledges to cut emissions fall well short of required targets

 FT View: The messy endgame that threatens Zimbabwe A coup is no answer to the tumultuous battle to succeed Mugabe

The Big Read

The Big Read: Spectre of immigration sparks rightward turn in Italy Having made gains in Cascina, Italy’s Northern League is exploiting concerns over migrants ahead of a pivotal general election

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