Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has been in power since independence in 1980. He has won elections, but over the past 15 years these have been marred by violence against political opponents.
Above all, Mr Mugabe has presided over a deepening economic crisis. Zimbabweans are on average 15% poorer now than they were in 1980.
What triggered moves to oust him was the dismissal of his former comrade, Emmerson Mnangagwa, as vice-president two weeks ago.
The move was seen by many as clearing the way for Mr Mugabe’s wife Grace to succeed her husband as leader.
The move riled top soldiers, who stepped in and put Mr Mugabe under house arrest. However he remains president, and in recent days has defied calls from his own party and from protesters to stand down.
In a further sign of his dwindling authority, only a handful of his ministers turned up for a cabinet meeting on Tuesday.