....But the diplomat judged that Mr Mugabe had enough resources to keep his regime afloat. "There's still enough in the country in terms of minerals, remittances and printing money to keep this regime in office, in power, for the foreseeable future," he said.
"There's still enough meat on the carcass of Zimbabwe for this regime to survive and not to be threatened. He doesn't need as many people as you think."
In order to stay in power, Mr Mugabe must maintain the levers of repression, notably the army. On paper, Zimbabwe has 40,000 troops, but some 25,000 are engaged in nothing more than growing food for themselves.
The diplomat, speaking anonymously, assessed that two brigades deployed in urban areas, supported by a few other military units and some sections of the police, would be enough to deal with any unrest and keep Mr Mugabe in office.
"Most of the police already don't get paid. He needs 15,000 to 20,0000 to keep him in power and there's enough meat on the carcass to do that."
The only prospects for change were "either some kind of internal event, either military or political" – neither of which appeared likely - or "effective external intervention", said the diplomat....