Zimbabwe Defence Forces Country Takeover, November 2017
This is a developing event and we'll be updating it as more details come
13 November 2017
- Following the dismissal of Emmerson Mnangagwa from the post 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 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."
- 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.
- 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."
- In the evening reports started coming confirming that the army had taken over Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC), the national TV broadcaster.
- 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
- 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."
- Reports in the morning said that Finance Minister Ignatius Chombo, Zimbabwe Republic Police (ZRP) Commissioner General Augustine Chihuri and Zanu-PF head of the Youth League, Kudzai Chipanga had been arrested.
- Unconfirmed reports suggested that Emmerson Mnangagwa was back in the country and was now at Manyame Air Base.
- Around 1130hrs, President of South Africa Jacob Zuma, released a statement on behalf of SADC that said he noted with great concern the unfolding political situation in Zimbabwe and called for calm and restraint. He later said that he had spoken to President Robert Mugabe who had confirmed that he was 'confined' to his home and that he was fine. He also said that an envoy had been sent to Harare to meet Mugabe and the military commanders.
- At 1400hrs, via Twitter, the President of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, "called for calm, peace and respect for the constitution of Zimbabwe" and the avoidance of unnecessary conflict.
- 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.
- On the evening of 15 November, Chipanga appeared on national TV apologising to the military generals for his statement the previous day. He claimed that the statement he'd had read not been prepared by him or the Youth League, but had instead been handed to them by Rodney Dangarembizi.
16 November 2017
- The Ugandan government condemns takeover by military in Zimbabwe.
- 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.
- Morgan Tsvangirai issues a statement saying Mugabe must resign immediately.
- 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.
- 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 on the crisis concludes that another urgent meet be convened.
- A picture of Mugabe and Chiwenga apparently laughing together at State House where Mugabe is under house arrest is published on social media.
17 November 2017
- The ZDF releases a statement saying they are engaging Mugabe and that they would advise the nation soon of the outcome. They also announce that significant progress has been made in the operation and that 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.
- Several political and society leaders among them Fadzayi Mahere call for the SADC to not interfere with the situation in Zimbabwe.
- Reports emerge that the ZRP had attempted to arrest Chiwenga on his return from China but that the military police had prevented this.
- 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 the afternoon, Zanu-PF provinces start passing resolutions for Mugabe's removal from the leadership of the party. Amoung the first is 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.
- It's announced that the Zimbabwe Stock Exchange shares lost close to US $3 billion in value in a single week.
- Several political and societal leaders call for Zimbabweans to attend the march, amoung 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 Zimbabwe.
- 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.
- 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 senoir politician and Mugabe's nephew, Patrick Zhuwao says that Mugabe & his wife are "ready to die for what is correct".
- Some articles in international media claim that the military takeover was planned weeks in advance and that China, the US and SADC 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.
- 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.
- 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".
- 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.
20 November 2017
- Zanu-PF formally notifies President Mugabe was formally of the decision to recall him.
- War Veterans say that Mugabe swapped his resignation speech for the one in which he didn't resign.
- A Reuters report says that Mugabe not resigning on TV was a deliberate choice by Zanu-PF and the military generals to ensure this was not seen as a coup.
- The ZANU-PF Politburo meets and confirms Mugabe recall by Central Committee.
- Former Zambian president, Kenneth Kaunda, flies into Zimbabwe to convince Mugabe to step down.
- Though previously said to be arrested, Jonathan Moyo’s Twitter account posts claiming that he is safe and outside the Country.
- 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.
- Chiwenga says Mugabe will meet Mnangagwa and calls for calm and patience as Mugabe "has started processes towards a definitive solution and roadmap for the country." A statement by the ZDF later suggests they are against impeachment'.
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.
- Protesters gather outside parliament in Harare ahead of Mugabe impeachment proceedings.
- War Veteran Douglas Mahiya claims that a former CIO Director General is bribing MPs to stop Mugabe’s impeachment.
- Botswana outgoing President Ian Khama writes an open letter appealing to President Mugabe to resign voluntarily.
- As the Impeachment process is underway in parliament (which had to move to a hotel for get a bigger venue because of attendance) the speaker of parliament receives a letter of resignation from President Mugabe.
- Zimbabweans celebrate Mugabe's resignation on the streets.
- Jonathan Moyo & Kasukuwere pay tribute to Robert Mugabe saying he was a revolutionary leader. Moyo says "There'll never be anyone like Cde RG Mugabe." and Kasukuwere says "Addios Baba . 37 yrs of a good run . Let’s embrace the the new dispensation and build our nation.
22 November 2017
- South Africa's EFF celebrates Mugabe's the resignation saying “No military in history has managed to remove a President without any spill of blood”.
- A cable by the Central Intelligence Organisation (CIO) seen by Reuters states that African leaders wanted President Robert Mugabe to step down because he was an embarrassment.
- Military commander Chiwenga calls for order following Mugabe’s resignation.
- Mnangagwa arrives in Zimbabwe, meets army generals and later addresses Zanu-PF members at Zanu-PF HQ where he took a jab at Grace Mugabe and G40
- 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
- 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
- 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