Zimbabwe: Developments since military takeover

Monday November 20 2017

robert mugabe

People wave a Zimbabwean national flag and carry banners during a demonstration demanding the resignation of Zimbabwe's president on November 18, 2017 in Harare. PHOTO | AFP 

By AFP
More by this Author

HARARE,

Here is a timeline of the developing political crisis in Zimbabwe, where the country's 93-year-old president, Robert Mugabe, insists he is still in power despite a military takeover and a rising clamour for him to quit.

  • Army takes control

November 14: Tanks are seen moving on the outskirts of the capital a day after army chief Constantino Chiwenga denounces Mugabe's sacking of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa is seen as a rival of Mugabe's wife Grace, 52, to succeed the veteran 93-year-old leader.

Later, heavy gunfire is heard near Mugabe's residence in Harare.

Military officers deny a coup. In an overnight declaration on state television, they say Mugabe is safe and they are "only targeting criminals around him".

  • Mugabe under house arrest  

November 15: Military vehicles take control of the streets of Harare from the early hours, controlling access to parliament, ruling party headquarters and the Supreme Court.

South Africa says Mugabe has told its president, Jacob Zuma, by telephone that he is under house arrest but is "fine".

South Africa sends two special envoys to Zimbabwe. The European Union urges a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

Former colonial power Britain urges all sides in Zimbabwe to refrain from violence and says the situation is "very fluid".

The head of the African Union, Guinea's President Alpha Conde, says the situation "seems like a coup". He calls on the military to halt their actions and restore constitutional order.

  • Mugabe refuses to resign  

November 16: Mugabe refuses to step down during talks with generals, a source close to the army leadership says.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai also calls for Mugabe to go "in the interest of the people".

Mugabe and envoys from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) regional bloc, dispatched by Zuma, hold talks at the presidency.

  • Mnangagwa returns

November 17: Ousted vice president Mnangagwa, widely tipped to become a transition leader if Mugabe leaves, returns to Zimbabwe after nearly a week abroad.

Mugabe makes a first public appearance since the military takeover, attending a university graduation ceremony.

The army says negotiations with the 93-year-old president are continuing.

Veterans of Zimbabwe's independence war call for mass anti-Mugabe street protests on Saturday. Their leader Christopher Mutsvangwa tells Mugabe "the game is up".

Eight of the 10 regional branches of the ruling Zanu-PF party also call for him to resign.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the people of Zimbabwe must choose their own government through elections.

In Ivory Coast, President Alassane Ouattara says it is time for Mugabe "to hand over his seat to a new generation."

  • Mass street protests -

November 18: Thousands of protesters flood Zimbabwe's streets demanding Mugabe's resignation.

The peaceful demonstrations — organised by independence war veterans and backed by Zanu-PF barons and the army — include a sit-down protest within 200 metres (220 yards) from the complex which was the nerve centre of Mugabe's authoritarian rule.

It is announced Mugabe will meet army chiefs on Sunday.

  • Mugabe hangs on

November 19: The influential youth league leader of Zanu-PF calls for Mugabe and his wife Grace to go.

The head of Zimbabwe's war veterans association Chris Mutsvangwa says Mugabe should give in "now", adding: "The army must finish with him today."

Former vice president Mnangagwa replaces Mugabe as Zanu-PF party chief and Grace Mugabe is expelled.

The ruling party says Mugabe must resign as president by midday Monday, or face impeachment.

In a live televised address, Mugabe defies expectations he will resign, instead saying he will preside over Zanu-PF's congress in December.