Zimbabwe: What’s happening?

Almost a week after an army takeover, long-time President Robert Mugabe submits resignation to parliament.

After ruling Zimbabwe for 37 years, Robert Mugabe has submitted his resignation as president in a letter to parliament.

The news marking the end of an era sparked celebrations in the capital, Harare.

Soldiers on November 15 took control of the headquarters of the state broadcaster ZBC and blocked access to government offices, but the army – despite putting Mugabe under house arrest – says this is not a military takeover.

The crisis came amid an apparent bid to expand the Mugabe dynasty. First Lady Grace Mugabe was said to be eyeing the vice presidency after Mugabe sacked Emmerson Mnangagwa, an ally of the army, on November 6. 

Opinion: Mugabe – Between the wife and the loyal lieutenant

Have Mugabe’s own words come back to haunt him?

Could Mnangagwa be Zimbabwe’s comeback crocodile?

Thursday, November 23: The Latest

Mnangagwa set to take over ZANU-PF reins

  • Incoming president, Emmerson Mnangagwa is set to chair his first politburo meeting as leader of the ruling ZANU-PF on Thursday following the dismissal of President Robert Mugabe on Sunday.

  • In a welcome speech delivered at the party headquarters late on Wednesday, Mnangagwa promised supporters of the liberation party a break from the past.

Wednesday, November 22: The Latest

Mnangagwa makes first public appearance, addresses cheering crowds

  • Zimbabwe’s incoming leader Emmerson Mnangagwa has made his first public appearance since returning to the country.

  • Crowds outside the ruling ZANU-PF party headquarters cheered as Mnangagwa addressed supporters.

  • Mnangagwa, who is to be sworn in on Friday as president, said “today, we witnessing the beginning of new democracy” to loud cheers from the crowd.
  • “We want to grow our economy, we want peace, we want jobs,” he told the crowd.
  • The former vice president also requested support from the international community.

Mnangagwa to be sworn in as president on Friday

  • Former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa will be sworn in as president on Friday, according to Zimbabwe’s state broadcaster.
  • Mnangagwa, 75, had not been in the country since November 6 when he was sacked by Robert Mugabe, his former ally.
  • He flew into Harare’s Manyame airbase late Wednesday from South Africa and met key members of the ruling ZANU-PF there before heading to the State House. Read more about that here.

Mnangagwa ‘to return home today’

  • Zimbabwe’s former Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who is expected to be sworn in as president following the resignation of Robert Mugabe, will return home on Wednesday.

  • He is expected to land in Zimbabwe at 11:30 GMT, after he fled the country in fear of his safety after being sacked on November 6.

Tuesday, November 21: The Latest

UN chief calls for calm after Mugabe’s departure

  • The deputy spokesman for Antonio Guterres, the United Nations secretary-general, has encouraged Zimbabweans to “maintain calm and restraint” after Robert Mugabe’s resignation as president.

  • Farhan Haq said “the secretary-general and his predecessors have made clear that we expect all leaders to listen to their people.

  • “That is a cornerstone of every form of government and needs to be followed in every continent and in every nation.”

Top general urges restraint after Mugabe’s resignation

  • General Constantino Chiwenga has called on all political parties in Zimbabwe to show restraint in the wake of Robert Mugabe’s resignation as president.

  • In a surprise move, Zimbabwe’s army seized power on November 15, saying it wanted to “target criminals” around the 93-year-old who were leading the ruling ZANU-PF party and state astray.

Mnangagwa ‘to be sworn’ in as president

  • Emmerson Mnangagwa, Zimbabwe’s former vice president whose sacking triggered the crisis, will be sworn in as president on Wednesday or Thursday.

  • That’s according to Patrick Chinamasa,  legal secretary of the ruling ZANU-PF party, who spoke to Reuters news agency.

  • Separately, ZANU-PF chief whip Lovemore Matuke said Mnangagwa would serve the remainder of Mugabe’s term until the next general elections, which must be held by September 2018.

Celebrations break out in Harare after Mugabe’s resignation

  • The news of Robert Mugabe’s resignation as president has been greeted in the capital, Harare, with songs, dancing and car horns.

  • “People are coming out onto the streets, they are calling this day Independence Day,” Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from Harare, said.

  • “It’s getting chaotic,” she added. “Some people still can’t believe this has happened. People say they are really excited and hoping for a better future.”

Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president

  • Zimbabwe’s President Robert Mugabe has announced his resignation after nearly four decades as the country’s leader.

  • Cheers broke out in Zimbabwe’s parliament after speaker Jacob Mudenda read out Mugabe’s resignation letter.

  • “I Robert Gabriel Mugabe in terms of section 96 of the constitution of Zimbabwe hereby formally tender my resignation … with immediate effect,” said Mudenda, reading the letter.

Botswana’s leader tells Mugabe to step down in open letter

  • Ian Khama, the president of Botswana, has posted online an “open letter” calling on his Zimbabwean counterpart, Robert Mugabe, to resign.

  • In the letter, Khama asks the 93-year-old to “be sensitive to the wishes of the people of Zimbabwe and to do the honourable thing by voluntarily relinquishing power”.

  • Khama also wrote that Zimbabweans have been “subjected to untold suffering” under Mugabe, who has ruled for 37 years.

Crowds gather as impeachment vote begins

  • Crowds of Zimbabweans gathered outside parliament and upped their call for President Robert Mugabe to quit as MPs began a process to impeach the 93-year-old leader.

  • Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from outside parliament in Harare, said the message was clear. “They are saying they hope Mugabe will step down and the country moves on.”

SADC extraordinary meeting

  • Regional dignitaries from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), of which South African President Zuma chairs, are keenly watching the unfolding situation.

  • The SADC bloc is holding an extraordinary session on Tuesday to discuss the Zimbabwe situation in neighbouring Botswana where the SADC is headquarters is located.

  • While the region’s leaders remain silent on Mugabe’s fate, Botswana’s President Ian Khama has openly called for the world’s oldest president to step down.

Sacked VP says Mugabe should resign – reports

  • Emmerson Mnangagwa, the vice president Mugabe sacked on November 6, has reportedly joined calls for the leader to resign. 

  • “The people of Zimbabwe have spoken with one voice and it is my appeal to President Mugabe that he should take heed of this clarion call and resign forthwith so that the country can move forward and preserve his legacy,” he is claimed to have said in a statement.

  • The full statement is available here on NewsDay, a Zimbabwean newspaper. Al Jazeera is working to confirm whether this statement was legitimate.

Impeachment process begins

Monday, November 20: The Latest

Army: Mnangagwa to return ‘shortly’, will meet Mugabe

  • Zimbabwe’s army chief has said ex-vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa, whose dismissal on November 6 prompted a military takeover, is expected to return to the country “shortly”.

  • General Constantino Chiwenga told reporters on Monday that, following consultations, embattled President Robert Mugabe had started working towards “a definitive solution and roadmap for the country”.

  • Chiwenga said Mugabe was in touch with Mnangagwa, who is seen as his likely successor.

  • “The security services are encouraged by new developments which include contact between the president and the former vice president … who is expected in the country shortly,” the military chief at the press conference.

  • “Thereafter the nation will be advised of the outcome of talks between the two,” added Chiwenga.

Analyst: Mugabe might still have support in parliament

  • Tim Murithi, head of the Africa Programme at the Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, has told Al Jazeera that impeaching President Robert Mugabe may be challenging because the veteran leader is likely to still have a support base in parliament.

  • “That’s quite a rare occurrence where the party sanctions its own leader,” he said.

  • “What ZANU-PF I think will seek to do is perhaps also encourage members of the opposition to vote with them in this process so as to almost send a clear message that the parliament is speaking with one voice in terms of the request for Mugabe to step down,” added Murithi.

  • “The challenge is there might be one or two of Mugabe’s hench-men-and-women within parliament who might decide to in fact find ways to obfuscate, to extend the process and buy Mugabe time so that he can seek some kind of a solution that is not what has been prescribed by the military-led putsch.”

Students march as ZANU-PF orders Mugabe impeachment move

  • ZANU-PF, Zimbabwe’s ruling party says, it has instructed its chief whip to move ahead with impeachment proceedings against President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled the country for 37 years.

  • Meanwhile, hundreds of students marched through the streets of the capital, Harare, demanding the 93-year-old president step aside.

  • Student Fanuel Kaseke said life for young Zimbabweans under Mugabe “has been very difficult”. 

  • “Most failed to come to college because of a lack of finances, and those who have graduated still cannot manage to get employment,” he told Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa. 

  • “There’s no employment in Zimbabwe and you find that there’s also a cash crisis.”

ZANU-PF official: Two days to impeach Mugabe

  • Paul Mangwana, ZANU-PF’s deputy secretary for legal affairs, says it should take parliament two days to impeach President Robert Mugabe, 93.

  • Speaking to reporters, he said politicians with the ruling party will move a motion for impeachment on Tuesday and set up a committee.

  • On Wednesday, the committee will report back and “we vote him out”, he added.

  • Mangwana said the main charge against Mugabe is “allowing his wife to usurp government powers” and that “he is too old and cannot even walk without help.”

Opposition leader doubts ZANU-PF can solve country’s problems

  • Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change party, has said he doubts the ruling ZANU-PF party’s ‘s ability to tackle Zimbabwe’s challenges.

  • Tsvangirai said ZANU-PF has been hurt by a factional struggle and that it appears to have differences with the army over how to handle the country’s political turmoil after the moves against President Robert Mugabe.

  • He said the upheaval could undermine the opportunity for a “fresh start” and called for international supervision of next year’s planned elections.

  • “It would be inimical to progress and the future of the country if all this action was about power retention at all costs,” said Tsvangirai.

Mugabe ignores deadline to quit as president

  • A deadline imposed by the ruling ZANU-PF party for Mugabe to quit as president has expired, with no response from Mugabe. 

  • The party, which expelled Mugabe as its leader on Sunday, threatened impeachment if Mugabe did not respond.

Head of war veterans: Mugabe, go now!

  • Chris Mutsvangwa, the head of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association, has renewed a call for Mugabe to resign. 

  • Speaking in Harare, he said: “Mugabe, go now, go now … your time is up!” He added: “Please leave State House and let the country start on a new page.” 

  • War veterans, who fought alongside Mugabe during the 1970s struggle for liberation from Britain and spearheaded the repossession of white-owned commercial farms in the 2000s, claim their president has betrayed the revolution.

Heartbreak in Harare and a noon deadline

Sunday, November 19: The Latest

No resignation as Mugabe addresses the nation

  • In a move that has shocked Zimbabweans, President Robert Mugabe did not announce his resignation as he addressed the nation on state television, and instead vowed to oversee the ruling ZANU-PF’s party congress next month. 

  • Mugabe’s defiance on live TV came after ZANU-PF officials removed him as leader of the party on Sunday and gave him a Monday deadline to resign as president – or face impeachment.

  • “The congress is due in a few weeks from now. I will preside over its processes, which must not be pre-possessed by any acts calculated to undermine it or to compromise the outcomes in the eyes of the public,” said Mugabe. 

Mugabe to address the nation tonight

  • President Mugabe to make a live TV address later tonight, according to Zimbabwean state television.

Analyst: New Zimbabwe actors part of same system that propped up Mugabe

  • Alex Magaisa, a Zimbabwean academic, has told Al Jazeera a potential Mugabe removal from power will not automatically guarantee a free and fair election next year.
  • “It was always very doubtful whether there would be free and fair elections next year, given that the electoral landscape had not been changed significantly. The removal of Mugabe would be an important part of changing that landscape, but we must understand that Mugabe was part of a system. That system hasn’t changed,” Magaisa said from London.
  • “The new actors who are coming in were part of the system that propped up Mugabe. The only question is, have they got the leadership to change the mindset, to change the way with which they approached elections and democracy? Are they born-again democrats or is it going to be the same?” added Magaisa.

State broadcaster preparing for announcement

  • Zimbabwe’s ZBC state broadcaster is preparing for an announcement in the next few hours, sending a broadcast van to State House where President Robert Mugabe is under pressure to resign, a source at the broadcaster told Reuters news agency.

Mugabe ‘victim of his wife and her allies’

  • Patrick Chinamasa, a senior ZANU-PF official and former minister, said he was expecting “cooperation” from Mugabe following the “overwhelming decision” taken by the ruling party’s central committee and Saturday’s “massive demonstration”.
  • “It will make the transfer of power smooth, and it will be very good for our country if in fact we were able to achieve it without any prolonged and protracted procedure,” he told Al Jazeera from Harare.
  • Striking a more emotional tone about the events of the past few days, Chinamasa said Mugabe has been a politician that has “shown very good leadership” over the years, but was recently taken advantage by the people close to him, including his wife.
  • “He became a victim to his wife and the allies of his wife, who basically abused his position and directed him to do things which were not in the interest both of the party and government.”

Mugabe a ‘stubborn’ man

  • President Mugabe is a ‘stubborn’ man and there is a strong chance he could refuse to resign before tomorrow’s deadline, the UK chairman of ZANU-PF told Al Jazeera.
  • The ruling party fired Mugabe as party leader on Sunday and said if he doesn’t step down as president by midday Monday, they will begin impeachment proceedings when Parliament resumes on Tuesday.
  • “President Mugabe is a very stubborn man. There is a 50-50 chance [of him resigning by middday Monday]. You could never try to second guess him. It will be very humiliating for it to go to impeachment,” Mick Mangwana said.
  • “No matter what happens it will be by the book. It will be constitutional. This is not a coup; we are going by the constitution. If President Mugabe does not go he will be impeached,” Mangwana added.

Mugabe fired as ruling party leader

  • Robert Mugabe was fired as leader of the ruling ZANU-PF party and replaced by Emmerson Mnangagwa, the deputy he sacked this month, sources at a special ZANU-PF meeting to decide Mugabe’s fate told Reuters news agency.

  • “He has been expelled,” one of the delegates told Reuters. “Mnangagwa is our new leader.” Three other delegates confirmed Mugabe’s dismissal.

Mugabe must leave office ‘today’: war veterans’ leader

  • President Robert Mugabe must leave office on Sunday, the head of Zimbabwe’s war veterans association said, as pressure builds on the leader to resign after a military takeover.

  • “The army must finish with him today. He’d better give in to them now,” Chris Mutsvangwa told reporters ahead of a crunch meeting between Mugabe and the generals who took control of the country.

ZANU-PF Youth League tells Mugabe to go

  • The youth wing of Mugabe’s ruling party has released a statement in which it calls on Mugabe and his wife to step down.

  • Blaming Mugabe’s failed attempt to groom his wife, Grace, as his successor, the Zanu-PF Youth League said that she should be expelled from the party and that Mugabe should quit.

  • “We take great exception to the vulgar language which had become party to Mrs. Mugabe’s vocabulary and clearly showed that she lacked grooming and true motherhood.

  • “It is unfortunate that the president allowed her to usurp executive authority form him, thereby destroying both the party and government…

  • “We therefore call for the expulsion of Mrs. Mugabe from the ZANU-PF forever and for the President Robert Mugabe to step down so that he can rest as the elderly statesman that he is,” the statement said.

Saturday, November 18: The Latest

Mugabe to meet army chiefs on Sunday: state TV

  • Zimbabwe’s embattled president will hold talks with military commanders on Sunday, state broadcaster ZTV said, quoting Catholic priest Fidelis Mukonori who has been acting as a mediator.

  • Mugabe will meet with the army chiefs who seized power, in a bid to end the crisis that has gripped the country, state TV said.

  • The announcement of the crunch talks comes after tens of thousands of overjoyed protesters flooded the streets of Zimbabwe’s capital, Harare.

Army says Mugabe removal a ‘journey’

  • The process to remove Mugabe from power is a “journey” and will take more than “one day”, an army general told thousands of protesters trying to march to the State House in Harare.
  • Major General Sibusiso Moyo commended the protesters for taking part in the largest anti-Mugabe demonstration the southern African country has ever seen, and asked them to go home.
  • “The operation we are doing together as a country is a journey, we cannot go around the mountain in one day, but through your support we have covered a great distance,” Moyo told the crowd in the capital.
  • Protesters who appeared to be in high spirit were encouraged by the general’s words.
  • “Although we didn’t make it to State House, we made it here to this point and just the amount of people, the different backgrounds and races that came out today showed that we all agreed today … We all agreed today that he must go,” Anesu Dawa, who took part in the march, told Al Jazeera.

Army tells Harare protesters to disperse

  • Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from a mass anti-Mugabe rally in Harare, says crowds are dispersing after being instructed to do so by the army.

  • “We will tell you when something is announced, but go home for now,” the military told the protesters, according to Mutasa. 

  • “People are leaving; they now are going to another venue, the Zimbabwe Grounds, where there is a celebration and people anticipating the announcement that Mugabe will resign,” added our correspondent.

  • “There is no confirmation whether that will happen, and no idea when it will happen, if it does happen, but a lot people are saying that there is a definite feeling in the country that change is really coming.”

Mugabe ‘ready to die for what is correct’

  • Zimbabwe’s president and his wife, Grace, are “ready to die for what is correct” and have no intention of stepping down in order to legitimise this week’s military coup, his nephew, Patrick Zhuwao, has told Reuters news agency.

  • Speaking from a secret location in South Africa, Zhuwao said on Saturday that Mugabe had hardly slept since the military seized power on Wednesday but his health was otherwise “good”.

‘We are president, not monarchs,’ Khama tells Mugabe

  • Ian Khama, the president of Botswana, has urged Mugabe to step down, saying the Zimbabwean leader has no regional diplomatic support.

  • “I don’t think anyone should be president for that amount of time,” Khama told Reuters news agency, referring to Mugabe’s 37 years in power.

  • “We are presidents. We are not monarchs. It’s just common sense,” added Khama.

South African President Zuma: Region committed to supporting people of Zimbabwe

  • As thousands gather in Zimbabwe to protest against President Robert Mugabe, South African President Jacob Zuma – the 93-year-old leader’s close ally – said the region supports “the people of Zimbabwe”.

  • Regional dignitaries from the Southern African Development Community (SADC) are expected to meet on Sunday in an extraordinary session to discuss the Zimbabwe situation in neighbouring Botswana, where the SADC headquarters is located.

  • Zuma chairs the SADC.

‘He has to go’: Protesters talk to Al Jazeera

  • Florence Mguni, a 59-year-old who went to train in Mozambique as a liberation fighter at the age of 15, travelled overnight from Bulawayo to Harare in hope of witnessing Mugabe’s departure. “We went to fight in the war, I was taught how to hold a gun as a young girl but today Zimbabwe is free and I am poor. I’m a widow and my children aren’t in school because I can’t always afford to pay their fees,” she said.

  • Tapiwa Magidi, a 32-year-old geologist, said Mugabe should resign because the 93-year-old leader was not serving young people. “We are a lost generation, most of the young people in this country were born after independence but we are now grown and we don’t have much,” he told Al Jazeera. “We can’t get jobs, we have to live at home with our parents and we can’t even afford to get married.

  • Tapiwa Tavaziva, a 32-year-old financial adviser who had left Zimbabwe for the US, said: “I spent 12 years out of this country because of Mugabe and the situation in this country. He’s been responsible for so many things that have happened to people in their personal lives, he broken up so many homes, family structures are broken and we don’t have what we used to because he [Mugabe] loves power. He has to go.”

Thousands turned out to join Saturday's rally, which was called for by the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association and backed by the army [Tendai Marima/Al Jazeera]
Thousands turned out to join Saturday’s rally, which was called for by the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association and backed by the army [Tendai Marima/Al Jazeera]

Thousands turn out to march against Mugabe 

  • By mid-morning, thousands in Harare turned out to march against Mugabe in a rare show of public defiance. 

  • Here is more on the marches planned for the day

  • Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from Harare, is posting images and video of the event. You can follow her on Twitter at @harumutasa

  • “Zimbabweans of all races here, blacks and whites,” Mutasa said of a rally at Robert Mugabe Square.

Zimbabweans to demand Mugabe’s resignation at rally

  • Thousands are expected to march in Harare on Saturday, calling for Mugabe’s resignation.
  • ZANU PF’s 10 Provincial Coordinating Committees (PCC) has unanimously called on Mugabe to step down as party saying the 93-year-old leader had “lost control of the party and government business due to incapacitation stemming from his advanced age”, according to state broadcaster, ZBC.
  • As part of its takeover, the army took over ZBC on Wednesday.
Show more

Friday, November 17: The Latest

ZANU-PF provincial branches want Mugabe out

  • All 10 of ZANU-PF’s provincial structures have passed a motion of no-confidence against Robert Mugabe and called on him to step down as the ruling party’s first secretary.

  • In a rare show of defiance, the provincial branches’ move was carried by Zimbabwe’s state broadcaster ZBC.

  • Meanwhile, a private radio station owned by one of Mugabe’s aides, Supa Mandiwanzira, the minister of information, communication, technology and couriers Services, on Friday broadcast messages calling on citizens to take to the streets on Saturday.

  • Following the votes by ZANU-PF’s branches, the party’s Central Committee is now expected to hold an emergency meeting on Sunday to pass a resolution of no-confidence in Mugabe’s 40-year leadership of the party.

Harare residents urged to take part in mass anti-Mugabe rally

  • A poster circulating in the Zimbabwean capital is calling on citizens to participate in a march on Saturday to “remove Mugabe from power.”

  • Calls for the rally to the State House say both the military and the opposition are behind it.

  • “We can’t have a 93-year-old person ruling more than 15 million people,” the poster says.

Tillerson calls for return to civilian rule

  • The US secretary of state has called the developments in Zimbabwe a “concern”, urging “a quick return” to civilian rule.

  • “Zimbabwe has an opportunity to set itself on a new path, one that must include democratic elections and respect for human rights,” Rex Tillerson told foreign ministers from African countries ahead of a meeting in Washington, DC.

‘His time is up’

  • Temba Mliswa, an expelled ZANU-PF member and independent parliamentarian, says if Mugabe refuses to step down, a motion to pass a no-confidence vote will be put before parliament at its next sitting on Tuesday.

  • “He is an old man, he is sick and he is in a state of shock so he needs to digest the news because he never imagined this day would come,” Mliswa told Al Jazeera.

  • “He can no longer resist, he should know his time is up,” added Mliswa.

‘Mugabe will not be allowed to stay in office’

  • Chris Mutsvangwa, the leader of Zimbabwe’s influential war veterans, said on Friday that Mugabe would not be allowed to resist the military and remain in power.

  • Mutsvangwa added that the veterans saluted Zimbabwe’s military for seizing power earlier in the week.

Botswana president tells Mugabe to go

  • Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe should end his attempts to remain in office after the military seized power this week as he has no regional diplomatic support to stay in power, Botswana President Ian Khama said on Friday.

  • The military intervention, which political sources say could pave the way to a national unity government after 37 years of Mugabe rule, also presented “an opportunity to put Zimbabwe on a path to peace and prosperity”, Khama told Reuters news agency. 

  • “I don’t think anyone should be president for that amount of time,” he said. “We are presidents, we are not monarchs. It’s just common sense.”

Mugabe in first public appearance since army takeover

  • Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has appeared in public for the first time since the army’s takeover on Wednesday.

  • Mugabe, who was believed to be under house arrest, attended a university graduation ceremony in Harare on Friday, where he announced the opening of the event. 

  • Zimbabwe’s military said it was engaging in talks with President Robert Mugabe on a path forward, promising an update on the outcome soon.

  • The military also reported significant progress in an operation targeting “criminals” linked to the president.

  • Mugabe has refused to resign, despite pressure from the country’s opposition.

Thursday, November 16: The Latest

Mugabe meets South African delegation at state house

  • Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, two cabinet ministers and the head of the military met South African envoys on Thursday in his office, the state Herald newspaper said.
  • Photos on the newspaper’s website showed Mugabe, General Constantino Chiwenga; Sydney Sekeramayi, Zimbabwe defence minister; and Kembo Mohadi, Zimbabwe state security minister, speaking to South African officials alongside Catholic priest Fidelis Mukonori.
  • The South African officials in the photos included Nosiviwe Mapisa-Nqakula, the defence minister, and Bongani Bongo, the state security minister.

Zimbabwe opposition leader says Mugabe must resign

  • Morgan Tsvangirai said President Robert Mugabe must resign in the interest of the people of the country.
  • The opposition leader said that a post-election framework is needed to guarantee stability and that the southern African regional bloc and the African Union should be “underwriters” of it.
  • Tsvangirai said he has not been approached to be part of any transitional mechanism but “if we are approached to negotiate such a process, we will participate”.
  • Tsvangirai shared power with Mugabe between 2009 and 2013 before losing disputed elections. He has been receiving treatment for cancer.

South Africa’s Zuma: Zimbabwe situation will become clear shortly

  • President Jacob Zuma told parliament on Thursday that Zimbabwe’s situation “very shortly will be becoming clear”.
  • Zuma has been in contact with Mugabe and on Wednesday said he hoped the military takeover will not “lead to unconstitutional changes of government”.
  • Meanwhile, a delegation from Pretoria has arrived in the Zimbabwean capital, Harare, to find a way out of the political impasse.

As Zimbabwe crisis enters second day, discussions and detentions

  • Regional officials are making efforts to solve the crisis, as our journalist in Harare reports.

  • A local mediation team that includes two government officials and a Catholic priest are reportedly involved in talks to find a solution to Mugabe’s confinement.

  • People on the streets shied away from commenting, but Cletus Mubaiwa, 29, an electrical engineer, told Al Jazeera he hoped Mugabe’s impasse with the army would be resolved peacefully.

  • Some government offices that were closed have re-opened.

  • Meanwhile, several of Mugabe’s top ministers, including Minister of Finance Ignatius Chombo, are currently being detained by the army at the King George VI military barracks.

  • Zanu-PF National Youth League Secretary, Kudzanai Chipanga who is also being held at the military barracks, publicly apologised to the Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander General, Constantino Chiwenga, for castigating the general’s call for Mugabe to stop purges within the ruling party.

Major developments overnight and Thursday morning

  • On Wednesday evening, Zimbabwe state media urged all civil servants, business owners and traders to go to work on Thursday.

  • The mood on Thursday morning, according to Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa in Harare, was “calm and quiet” with “some people already heading to school and work”. 

  • Catholic priest Fidelis Mukonori, the man who acts as chaplain to Mugabe and his family, is attempting to negotiate the “political exit” of the 93-year-old leader. But Mugabe insists he can only be removed through a party leadership vote. 

  • Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party, has returned to Harare after reportedly undergoing cancer treatment in South Africa. He is expected to deliver a statement later today. 

  • No information has been divulged regarding Mugabe’s whereabouts as of Thursday morning. 
People queue to draw money outside a bank in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 15, 2017 [Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters]
People queue to draw money outside a bank in Harare, Zimbabwe, November 15, 2017 [Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters]

Wednesday, November 15: The latest

  • #ThisFlag, a citizens’ movement protesting against Mugabe’s rule, has called for calm and the protection of all Zimbabweans following the army’s takeover of power.

  • “In order to see a better Zimbabwe that we all want, we must now stand together. There has never been a more opportune time to be united than now,” the movement said in a statement on Wednesday.

  • “Zimbabwe needs you to remain calm but hopeful, Zimbabwe needs you to support and encourage each other,” the statement added.

Zimbabwean lawmaker: Army takeover constitutional

  • A Zimbabwean legislator has claimed the move by the country’s military to seize power and “confine President Robert Mugabe to his house” is constitutional.

  • Temba Mliswa, an independent member of parliament, said the army took power because of instability in the country caused by First Lady Grace Mugabe.

  • “For some outside the country it is bad news, but for those in Zimbabwe, it is good news because this is a timely intervention by the military and it is constitutional,” Mliswa told Al Jazeera.

  • “The constitution clearly talks about the role of the military in terms of being the ones to protect the national security, interest and territorial integrity of the country. They are within their gambit to do what they are doing because there was instability in the country as a result of the first lady usurping powers from the president.

  • “The people of Zimbabwe elected Robert Mugabe as president, not Grace Mugabe. The military are there to restore law and order.”

In Harare, uncertainty and optimism after army takeover

On the streets of Zimbabwe’s capital, guarded optimism and concern about the future dominate discussions after the army’s seizure of power. Read more here.

AU: Zimbabwe crisis ‘seems like a coup’

  • The African Union (AU) chief said the political crisis in Zimbabwe “seems like a coup”, while calling on the military to restore constitutional order.
  • Alpha Conde, who is also Guinea’s president, said the AU condemned the actions of army leaders in the country as “clearly soldiers trying to take power by force”.
  • “The African Union expresses its serious concern regarding the situation unfolding in Zimbabwe,” he said in a statement on Wednesday.

Amnesty calls on army to safeguard people’s rights

  • Amnesty International, the global advocacy group, has called on Zimbabwe’s army to protect the rights of people during the current political uncertainty.

  • “It is essential that the military ensure the safety and security of all people in Zimbabwe – regardless of their political allegiance – and refrain from any action that puts lives and human rights at risk,” said Deprose Muchena, Amnesty’s Southern Africa director.

  • “The military takeover should not be used as an excuse to undermine Zimbabwe’s international and regional human rights obligations and commitments.”

Who’s who?

  • We have explained who’s who in the Zimbabwe crisis, from the Mugabes and sacked Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa to the army and the war veterans. Read more here.

UK’s Boris Johnson: Nobody wants to see transition from one unelected tyrant to next

  • Boris Johnson, Britain’s foreign secretary, said in a statement: “It’s hard to say exactly how this will turn out. Everybody wants to see a stable and successful Zimbabwe. We are appealing for everyone to refrain from violence, that is the crucial thing.”

  • Earlier in parliament, he had a more colourful tone saying: “Nobody wants simply to see the transition from one unelected tyrant to a next.”

SADC weighs in

  • The Southern African Development Community (SADC), a regional body, said it has noted the political situation in Zimbabwe with “great concern”, adding it hopes the situation “will not lead to unconstitutional changes of government”.

  • SADC called on the army and government to solve the crisis “amicably”.

  • Earlier, South African President Zuma, in his capacity as SADC chairman, said he was sending special envoys to Zimbabwe and Angola in light of the crisis. Angola chairs SADC’s peace and security arm.

Opposition member: Zimbabweans are happy

  • Lovemore Chinoputsa, a member of the opposition Movement For Democratic Change (MDC) party, said earlier on Wednesday: “It’s a sign of relief to Zimbabweans. From the look of things, Zimbabweans are happy that there has been a stop to the family dynasty agenda that was being propagated by Robert Mugabe and his wife.”
  • MDC on Tuesday called on people to defend civilian rule in the country following the army’s threat.

War veterans support army, say Zanu-PF ‘taken back’

  • The war veterans met earlier in the day and gave a press conference.

  • “We urge that Robert Gabriel Mugabe should be recalled from his role as the president and first secretary of ZANU-PF. We also want to facilitate good and proper running of political parties in the forthcoming elections,” said Victor Matemadanda, the war veterans’ leader.
  • “On the streets, people are waiting to see if this is going to happen,” said Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa in Harare.

  • War veterans, who fought alongside Mugabe during the 1970s struggle for liberation against Britain and spearheaded the repossession of white-owned commercial farms in the 2000s, regularly claim that Mugabe has betrayed the revolution.

Secretary-General of Zimbabwe's War Veterans Association, Victor Matemadanda, addresses a news conference [Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters]
Secretary-General of Zimbabwe’s War Veterans Association, Victor Matemadanda, addresses a news conference [Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters]

‘No military takeover’

  • The Herald newspaper released a special edition, given the dramatic events of the day.

  • The afternoon edition’s headline is: “The Herald: No military takeover”

  • An earlier edition read: “Zanu-PF unfazed by Chiwenga”, referring to the army commander who has challenged Mugabe.

Is Grace Mugabe in Namibia?

  • Sky News has reported that, according to sources, Grace Mugabe believed to be in Namibia. Al Jazeera is unable to confirm this report, as yet.

  • Grace is the first lady and is at the centre the crisis. 

  • You can read more about Grace Mugabe in a recent pre-crisis feature here.

  • The Namibian Sun, an English-language newspaper, tweeted a statement from the government that did not mention Grace.

  • The statement said Namibia has been following the “unfolding developments in Zimbabwe with concern”.

  • “Namibia is concerned that the present situation in Zimbabwe creates uncertainty that is not conducive to peace, stability and consolidation of democracy in Zimbabwe and the region as a whole.”

Zuma speaks to Mugabe

  • The office of South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma has said Mugabe has indicated that “he was confined to his home but said that he was fine”.

  • In a statement posted online, the office said South Africa is in touch with the Zimbabwe military. “President Zuma has reiterated his call for calm and restraint and for the ZDF [military] to ensure that peace and stability are not undermined in Zimbabwe,” the statement said.

  • In his address, which was broadcast later on Wednesday, South African President Zuma said: “Given the seriousness of the situation, I have taken the decision to send an envoy to be able to conduct the leaders of the defence force who have undertaken these operations, but also to meet with President Mugabe so that we have a [clearer] picture of what is happening.”

‘It’s an inside-the-party coup’

  • Professor David Moore, speaking from Johannesburg, told Al Jazeera: “It is an inside-the-party coup. The president has not been deposed. People are being arrested, the G-40 people are being arrested, but the G-40 never had the army in their hands. It’s relatively peaceful so far.” The G-40 is Grace Mugabe’s political faction. 

  • On whether or not Mugabe will be deposed, Moore said: “I don’t think Mugabe will be deposed. I think the plan will be as is indicated in Chiwenga’s speech on Monday night to guarantee that the extraordinary congress, which is set up for the end of December this year instead of next year. In other words, before the election of July next year which was planned by G-40. I think Mugabe will see the way the wind is blowing. He’s very, very good at keep[ing] his finger to the winds of these conflicts.

Zuma to speak

  • Al Jazeera has learned that South African President Jacob Zuma is expected to speak at 11:00 GMT. We will bring you that speech, as and when it happens, at aljazeera.com/live.

  • There is a significant number of Zimbabweans living in South Africa. 

  • Mugabe and Zuma maintain good relations and are close allies.

Foreign guests leave hotel

  • A journalist in Harare, speaking on the condition of anonymity, told Al Jazeera that foreign hotel guests at the Cresta Lodge in Harare were leaving.

  • Earlier the US and UK had warned their citizens in Harare against attending demonstrations or discussing the president.

Armed soldiers on the road leading to Mugabe's office in Harare [Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/The Associated Press]
Armed soldiers on the road leading to Mugabe’s office in Harare [Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi/The Associated Press]

Flights operational

  • Trevor Ncube, a Zimbabwean businessman living in South Africa, said flights in and out of Zimbabwe were operating as usual. Ncube is verified on Twitter, and is a critical voice on Mugabe. “Air Zimbabwe took off for Bulawayo this morning and the SAA flight from Harare landed a while ago,” he tweeted.

  • Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from Harare, confirmed that airports were open as usual.

Fears over economy

  • For many Zimbabweans, the first priority was to head to the banks. Images sent to Al Jazeera showed queues of people waiting to be addressed by banking staff on the situation over cash withdrawals.
  • Martin Muradzikwa, a mobile phone shop owner in Harare, told Al Jazeera he feared clashes between soldiers and Mugabe loyalists would break out.

  • Main branches of international banks were closed, due to their proximity to government buildings.


  • Several high-profile, Zanu-PF individuals have been detained and those at large are being pursued, according to reports. 

‘No outward panic’

  • Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from Harare, said the atmosphere on the streets felt tense. “I don’t think people expected this kind of military takeover. I’m Zimbabwean, I was born after independence from Britain, I’ve never experienced this kind of feeling in the air. At the moment, people are just wondering what is going to happen next.”

  • Mutasa also said, however, that it was business as usual for now. “There’s no outward panic, you’re not seeing people running away or fleeing.” 

Newspaper headline: Zanu-PF unfazed

  • Zimbabwean newspaper The Herald ran with the headline: “Zanu-PF unfazed by Chiwenga”, referring to the army general.

Where is Mugabe?

  • As yet, there is no official comment from the government or the Mugabe family as to the president’s whereabouts.

UK, US warns citizens in Harare

  • The US and UK have advised their citizens in Harare, the capital, to stay indoors amid the uncertainty. “You should avoid political activity, or activities which could be considered political, including political discussions in public places and criticism of the president,” Britain warned.

  • The US embassy in Harare tweeted: “Due to ongoing uncertainty in Zimbabwe, the U.S. Embassy in Harare will be minimally staffed and closed to the public on November 15.  Embassy personnel will continue to monitor the situation closely. @StateDept”

Military: We are targeting criminals

  • In a televised address early on Wednesday morning, military spokesperson, Major General SB Moyo, said the army was seeking to “pacify a degenerating, social, and economic situation”, and denied a coup.  

  • “We are only targeting criminals around [Mugabe] and are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country, in order to bring them to justice,” he said. You can read the statement in full here.

Military seizes state TV

  • On Wednesday, November 15, the Zimbabwe army seized state TV and blocked off access to government offices.

  • This came after reports of explosions and gunfire the previous evening.

A young man washes a minibus adorned with picture of President Robert Mugabe at a bus terminus in Harare [Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters]
A young man washes a minibus adorned with picture of President Robert Mugabe at a bus terminus in Harare [Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters]

What had happened until Wednesday? The backstory

  • Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, an ally of the army chief and a veteran of the country’s struggle for independence, was sacked on November 6 by 93-year-old Mugabe for showing “traits of disloyalty”.

  • Mnangagwa, who fled the country soon after, was seen as a likely successor to the ailing president, and his ousting now appears to pave the way for First Lady Grace Mugabe.

  • Army commander Constantino Chiwenga said on Monday, November 13, that the military would act if purges against former war liberation fighters did not cease.

  • Zanu-PF on November 14 accused the army chief of “treasonable conduct” after he challenged Mugabe over the sacking of the vice president.

  • On Tuesday, November 14, the youth wing of ZANU-PF party, said it was “ready to die” for Mugabe, after the military threat to intervene.

  • There were unconfirmed reports of explosions and shooting in the capital, Harare, on Tuesday evening. 

This file photo taken on November 13 shows Chiwenga [Jekesai Njikizana/AFP]
This file photo taken on November 13 shows Chiwenga [Jekesai Njikizana/AFP]

War veterans and Mugabe supporters:

  • War veterans, who fought alongside Mugabe during the 1970s liberation struggle and spearheaded the repossession of white-owned commercial farms in the 2000s, claim Mugabe has betrayed the revolution.

  • The ongoing purges of scores of Mnangagwa allies have widened the rift between the Mugabes and various groups of war veteran leaders.

  • Victor Matemadanda, secretary-general of the Zimbabwe National War Veterans Association, recently told Al Jazeera the ongoing expulsions were a strong indication that Mugabe was acting in his own interests and those of his wife.

President Robert Mugabe sits with his wife, Grace, at a youth interface rally in the second city of Bulawayo on November 4 [Tendai Marima/Al Jazeera]
President Robert Mugabe sits with his wife, Grace, at a youth interface rally in the second city of Bulawayo on November 4 [Tendai Marima/Al Jazeera]
Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies