13 November 2017
- Following the dismissal of Emmerson Mnangagwa from the post of Vice President of Zimbabwe and from Zanu-PF days later, the Commander of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces, Constantino Chiwenga, and several other military generals (except ZRP head, Augustine Chihuri) hold a press conference and release a statement warning that the military would not hesitate to step in to solve the problems in Zanu-PF that had resulted in a purge of Zanu-PF members with a liberation war background.
- On the morning of 14 November, the Zanu-PF Youth League under the leadership of Kudzai Chipanga releases a statement saying they are prepared to die defending the legitimate presidency of Robert Mugabe: “Defending the revolution and our Leader and President is an ideal we live for and if need be it is a principle we are prepared to die for.”
- Later that afternoon several social media and traditional media outlets report that several army tanks have been sighted on highways leading to Harare. Some also seen in the Harare city center.
- On the same afternoon Zanu-PF party’s national spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo issues a statement accusing Chiwenga of treasonous intentions. Khaya Moyo says in the statement that Chiwenga’s utterances were meant to “incite insurrection and violent challenge to the Constitutional Order.”
- In the evening information emerges confirming that the army has taken over Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), the state TV broadcaster.
- The United States embassy in Harare announces that it will be closed the following day, due to the uncertainty in the country.
- Soon after midnight, the takeover of ZBC is confirmed with a Major General Sibusiso Moyo coming on TV to announce a statement from the army. Through the broadcast, the army assures Zimbabweans and the world that President Robert Mugabe and his family are safe and that their security is guaranteed.
He says the military is only targeting criminals around Mugabe that were “causing social and economic suffering in the country”.
- Around 1130hrs, SA President Jacob Zuma, releases a statement calling for calm and restraint. Also says that he spoke to President Robert Mugabe who had confirmed that he was ‘confined’ to his home and that he was fine.
Zuma sends an envoy to Harare to meet Mugabe and the military commanders.
- President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, calls “for calm, peace and respect for the constitution of Zimbabwe” and the avoidance of unnecessary conflict.
- On the evening of 15 November, Chipanga appears on national TV apologising to the military generals for his statement the previous day. He claims the statement had not been prepared by him or the Youth League, but by one Rodney Dangarembizi.
- The Ugandan government condemns takeover by the military in Zimbabwe.
- Nick Mangwana a Zanu-PF official confirms that Grace Mugabe is still in the country.
- Pastor Evan Mawarire calls for a march in Harare the next day then calls it off hours later after backlash on social media.
- Morgan Tsvangirai issues a statement saying Mugabe must resign immediately.
- Late afternoon, outspoken former Zanu-PF politician Acie Lumumba says SADC will give the military an ultimatum to hand power back to Mugabe by the 19th or face SADC intervention.
Lumumba says war vets are organising a solidarity (with the military) march to the State House on Saturday 18 September.
The purpose of the march is to support the military and demand Mugabe’s resignation. Lumumba calls on Zimbabweans to join in.
- A video circulates of Mutsvangwa and his wife celebrating apparently to the news that Mugabe has agreed to step down even though the terms are yet to be agreed upon. Eventually, it becomes clear that Mugabe had not agreed to much.
- A SADC meeting in Botswana concludes that another urgent meeting be convened.
- A picture circulates of Mugabe and Chiwenga apparently laughing together at State House where Mugabe is under house arrest.
- The ZDF releases a statement saying they are engaging Mugabe and that they would advise the nation soon of the outcome. They also say they have “accounted for some of the criminals while others are still at large.“
- Later that morning President Mugabe attends a graduation ceremony at a local university as the institution’s Chancellor.
- Reports emerge that the ZRP had attempted to arrest Chiwenga on his return from China but that the military intelligence had intercepted the plans.
- War Veterans chairman, Chris Mutsvangwa holds a press conference where he announces a march to take place the next day, Saturday, 18 November at Zimbabwe Grounds. Says police have granted permission.
- In the afternoon, Zanu-PF provinces start passing resolutions for Mugabe’s removal from the leadership of the party. Among the first are Harare, Masvingo, and Midlands.
- In an interview with Reuters, outgoing Botswana President Ian Khama comments on the situation saying: “I don’t think anyone should be President for that amount of time. We are Presidents, we are not monarchs. It’s just common sense.“
- In the evening Military releases statement in support of the War Vets planned march. Calls for peaceful marching.
- Reports say Zimbabwe Stock Exchange has lost close to US $3 billion in stocks value during the week.
- Several political and societal leaders call for Zimbabweans to attend the march, among them David Coltart, Shingi Munyeza, Fadzayi Mahere, Tendai Biti, Dumiso Dabengwa, Pastor Evan Mawarire and others. They also call for SADC to not interfere in the Zimbabwe situation.
- Government cancels an interface rally for students that had been organised by the ZANU PF Youth League to take place on 18 November 2017.
- Zimbabweans turn up in numbers in Harare for the War Veterans organised Solidarity March. Tens of thousands of people march to the State House with placards demanding that Mugabe and his wife step down.
At the State House, the military addresses the marchers, thanks them and asks that they go home.
- Addressing the marchers, a traditional chiefs representatives says Mugabe must go.
- Deputy Russian Prime Minister Yury Trutnev says the situation in Zimbabwe was predictable as “instability emerges when people are not satisfied with their lives.“
- United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says “Zimbabwe has an opportunity to set itself on a new path”
- Zanu-PF senior politician and Mugabe’s nephew, Patrick Zhuwao says that Mugabe & his wife are “ready to die for what is correct”.
- Reports say talks between Mugabe and military would resume the next day.
- Some articles in international media claim that the military takeover was planned weeks in advance and that China, the US and SADC all knew.
19 November 2017
- The military thanks the public for marching and doing so peacefully.
- A Zanu-PF Central Committee extra-ordinary session passes a resolution removing President Robert Mugabe from his position as party leader and first secretary of Zanu-PF. They replace him with former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa who now becomes the party leader and first secretary of Zanu-PF.
Mugabe however is not expelled from the party. Zanu PF legal secretary Patrick Chinamasa announces that all party members expelled since December 2014 are reinstated with immediate effect.
Central Committee also resolves to prosecute Grace Mugabe, Ignatius Chombo and Saviour Kasukuwere amongst others.
- Pictures of President Robert Mugabe’s second meeting with the commanders of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces on Sunday show other service chiefs who had not been seen in public since the military takeover. The pictures show Air Force Commander Air Marshall Perence Shiri, ZRP Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and ZPCS Commissioner (Ret) Major General Paradzai Zimondi.
- Central Committee also resolves to expel Zanu-PF Vice President and Second Secretary Phelekezela Mphoko from the party for “protecting criminals”.
- Central Committee gives President Mugabe until Monday, 20 November 2017, 1200hrs midday to resign as President of Zimbabwe, or face impeachment.
- Pictures of President Robert Mugabe’s second meeting with the commanders of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces on Sunday show other service chiefs who had not been arrested in public since the military takeover. The pictures show Air Force Commander Air Marshall Perence Shiri, ZRP Commissioner-General Augustine Chihuri and ZPCS Commissioner and (Ret) Major General Paradzai Zimondi.
- In the evening, it’s announced that Mugabe is to address the nation shortly. Zimbabweans expect him to resign and indeed, several media publications say [he has agreed to resign and is going to announce tonight].
- Close to the address, information comes out that there are delays becauseMugabe is refusing to show military Generals his speech.
- Finally Mugabe addresses the nation on state TV but unexpectedly doesn’t resign. Instead, says mistakes have been made but that there’s need to move on. He says he will be presiding over the Zanu-PF Congress in a few weeks. Zimbabweans on social media are baffled and there’s no indication anyone knows why Mugabe didn’t resign as expected.
For more updates, please check out Zimbabwe Defence Forces Country Takeover, November 2017