November 2017 Military Takeover in Zimbabwe (Timeline)

13 November 2017

14 November

  • On the morning of 14 November, the Zanu-PF Youth League under the leadership of Kudzai Chipanga released a statement that said they were 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."[1]
  • Later that afternoon several social media and traditional media outlets reported that several army tanks had been cited in, around and on highways leading to Harare.[2]
Army Tanks Military Takeover Nov 2017.jpg
  • On the same afternoon Zanu-PF party’s national spokesperson, Simon Khaya Moyo issued a statement accusing Chiwenga of treasonous intentions. Khaya Moyo said in the statement that Chiwenga's utterances were meant to "incite insurrection and violent challenge to the Constitutional Order."[3]
  • The United States embassy in Harare announced that it would be closed the following day, due to the uncertainty in the country.

15 November 2017

Zimbabwe Defence Forces Leadership Seniority Structure.jpg
  • Soon after midnight, the takeover of ZBC was confirmed with a Major General Sibusiso Moyo coming on TV to announce a statement from the army. Through the broadcast, the army assured Zimbabweans and the world that President Robert Mugabe and his family were safe and that their security was guaranteed. He said the takeover was only targeting criminals around Mugabe that were "causing social and economic suffering in the country".
  • The statement separately addressed Civil Servants, the Judiciary, Members of Parliament, generality of the people of Zimbabwe, Political Parties, youth, Churches and Religious Organisations in Zimbabwe, the diaspora, war veterans, members of the Defense Forces, Traditional Leaders, other security services and the media on what they were to expect. It warned other security services that "any provocation will be met with an appropriate response."
  • Pictures of a bullet riddled house start circulating on WhatsApp, with reports saying that Minister of Finance Ignatius Chombo was arrested after gunfire was exchanged between his security and members of the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) the night of 14 November.

16 November 2017

  • Pastor Evan Mawarire calls for a march in Harare the next day, then calls it off hours later after backlash on social media. Says he realises the situation is too fragile for marches.
  • Late afternoon, outspoken former Zanu-PF politician Acie Lumumba says he has information from SADC that suggests the regional organisation will give the military an ultimatum to hand over power back to Mugabe by the 19th or face SADC intervention. Lumumba says he has spoken to the war veterans leader Chris Mutsvangwa and says war vets are organising a solidarity march by Zimbabweans to the State House to happen on Saturday 18 September. The purpose of the march is to support the military and demand Mugabe's resignation. Lumumba calls on Zimbabweans to go in numbers from all parts of the country.

17 November 2017

  • Several political and society leaders among them Fadzayi Mahere call for the SADC to not interfere with the situation in Zimbabwe.
  • 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. The march had been mentioned the day before by Acie Lumumba. Says police have granted permission to march.
  • 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."
  • Government cancels an interface rally for students that had been organised by the Youth League to take place on 18 November 2017.

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.
Huge crowd on street at solidarity march Nov2017.jpg

19 November 2017

  • 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.
  • Central Committee gives President Mugabe until Monday, 20 November 2017, 1200hrs midday to resign as President of Zimbabwe, or face impeachment.
  • Zanu-PF senoir member Patrick Chinamasa says they don't need for a coalition with Zanu-PF after Mugabe's ouster: "What happened today has nothing to do with the opposition, it has nothing to do with the national government, we are cleansing our own party. We were correcting our own mess, we have the majority in Parliament, we can expel the President alone and we are the ruling party, so where does a coalition come in, we don't need them? The removal of (President) Mugabe and his cabal was to enable us to go to elections as a strong force after some rogue elements had infiltrated the party".
  • 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].
  • 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.

20 November 2017

  • War Veterans say that Mugabe swapped his resignation speech for the one in which he didn't resign.
  • Zanu-PF spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo announces that the party will go ahead with the decision to impeach President Robert Mugabe as he has refused to resign.

21 November 2017

  • Mnangagwa releases a statement advising President Mugabe to resign now or face the ignominy of a humiliating exit.
  • Mugabe calls for cabinet meeting but only 5 ministers come.

22 November 2017



  1. Maveriq, Don’t Hide Behind The Barrel Of A Gun: Zanu- PF Youth League Tells General Chiwenga, Pindula News, Published:14 November 2017, Retrieved: 15 November 2017
  2. Tayana, Army tanks seen in and around Harare after Chiwenga warns Mugabe and Zanu-PF, Pindula News, Published:14 November 2017, Retrieved: 15 November 2017
  3. Tayana, UPDATED: “Govt will never succumb to any threats”: Zanu-PF responds to Chiwenga’s warning, Pindula News, Published:14 November 2017, Retrieved: 15 November 2017