Zimbabwe 2007 Coup Plot

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The failed coup plot in Zimbabwe in 2007 was code-named Operation 1940 according to a report by a private online publication.

Three top army officials connected to the failed coup plot were allegedly killed. The men were accused of plotting to use the military to remove Robert Mugabe from office and replace him with Minister of Rural Housing and Amenities Emmerson Mnangagwa.


A report by The Zimbabwean stated that the planned coup was code-named Operation 1940 and was supposed to have been led by Paul Armstrong Gunda, commander of One Brigade based in Bulawayo.

Gunda was also the commander of army units based in Hwange and Plumtree. 1940 was the time at which soldiers were supposed to storm Robert Mugabe's residence in Borrowdale Brooke. The coup was supposed to be staged on June 15, 2007. The 15th was chosen reportedly because every month 95 percent of soldiers leave their barracks in army buses to visit their families across Zimbabwe, leaving only two units on standby.

Mugabe was supposed to have been toppled while the majority of soldiers were away from their units and unarmed.[1]

Coup Leaders

  • Gunda was assigned as the leader because he was the commander of the Presidential Guard for more than five years. The attempted coup was sponsored by people connected to Solomon Mujuru.
  • Fakazi Mleya who headed the Signals Corps responsible for the army’s national communications systems, was also reportedly chosen he was aware of how the national military communications system could be scrambled before, during and after the coup in terms of sending communications to army units around the country.
  • Elson Moyo was going to be in charge of the air force element and was supposed to commandeer elements from the air force whose first major task would have been to distribute fliers across the country to inform the population about the new order.


At least seven men including a former Zimbabwe army officer were arrested and charged with treason for allegedly plotting the coup in 2007. Their lawyer Jonathan Samukange said his clients pleaded not guilty to the charges. He said they were arrested while meeting to form a new political party.[2]

The seven that were arrested in 2007 were Albert Matapo, Nyasha Zivuku, Oncemore Mazivahona, Emmanuel Marara, Patson Mupfure, Shingirai Mutemachani and Rangarirai Maziofa.

In May 2011, Justice Yunus Omerjee and Justice Joseph Musakwa ordered the release of the seven alleged coup plotters. The High Court judges said that the alleged coup plotters should not have been commuted to custody. The seven had been in jail since 2007, despite several attempts by their lawyers to have them released.

In July 2010, the High Court dismissed the case because the alleged coup plotters had not been brought to court for trial within six months, as required by law. State prosecutors responded by re-indicting them. The defendants appealed to the High Court to throw out the re-indictment.[3]


  1. Coup plot details revealed, The Zimbabwean, Published: August 16, 2007, Retrieved: December 21, 2021
  2. At Least Five Charged in Alleged Zimbabwe Coup Plot, VOA, Published: June 6, 2007, Retrieved: December 21, 2021
  3. Columbus Mavhunga, Court orders release of alleged coup plotters in Zimbabwe, CNN, Published: May 24, 2011, Retrieved: December 22, 2021