First the rights of Zapu and its membership were abused and the law simply brushed aside. Then creeping patronage and corrupt practices in government contracts and business in general started to gain momentum.
By the time the conflict with the MDC was launched in 2000, the Reserve Bank had become the bank of the Zanu-PF elite. Printing money at artificial exchange rates had begun to strip away the assets of established business and citizens and the looting of national resources had started.
By my own estimates, when the final collapse came in late 2008 and Zanu-PF was forced in to a coalition government with the MDC by regional leaders, the Zanu-PF elite were stealing a third of annual GDP.
This was achieved in many different ways, fuel imports were subjected to huge premiums that were channelled into private accounts overseas, pension funds were looted and the State Social security Agency used as a private savings bank. Through the Reserve Bank the Zanu_PF elite literally stole the gold stocks and siphoned off the accumulated national wealth created by a 100 years of enterprise and hard work. As a result Zimbabwe became the second poorest country in the world in a decade, one of the only countries to experience such a decline without being engaged in a war. A tiny (no more than 2000 people) criminal cabal became some of the wealthiest individuals in the world. Zimbabwe abandoned any pretext of being a law abiding State and the theft of State and individual assets was only curbed when finally regional leaders imposed a coalition.
Stripped of access to the Reserve Bank, fuel resources and the artificial blood supply created by the printing presses in Harare, the criminal elite concentrated their efforts on what was left. The alluvial diamond fields in the eastern areas of the country were taken away from their rightful owners, handed over to an international criminal cabal drawn from Israel, South Africa and China.
Where the elite still controlled the administration (mining and agriculture) the looting simply accelerated and broadened its base fuelled by the international appetite for all raw materials.
South Africa shows frightening signs of a similar slide into theft and corruption on a scale seldom seen on other continents. In Angola the elite steal a third of oil revenues and nobody takes any interest except the Banks that become host to this flood of wealth that bleeds Africa and for which the aid inflow is simply a rather bloody band aid.