2017 Change of power in Zimbabwe

Publication type Article
Status Published
Occupation: Junior Researcher, Centre for Development and Modernization Studies
Affiliation: Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow
Journal nameAsia and Africa Today
EditionIssue 3

The article examines the process of the change of power in the Republic of Zimbabwe in November 2017. The long regimen of the country's first and only president, Robert Mugabe, finally developed into a political crisis: the undercover internal party struggle aimed at resolving the successor issue came into an open phase and provoked a reshuffle in the government along with the removal of some key figures. The following purges led to the intervention of the Zimbabwe Defense Forces and the subsequent president’s resignation. 

The author analyzes the political situation in the country prior to the November crisis and examines the reasons for the transit of power. The author also evaluates the actions of all key players and describes in detail the course of events for the two weeks of November, starting with the dismissal of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and ending with Mugabe resignation. The author shows that the actions of the army and Mnangagwa supporters were a timely coordinated tactic aimed not only at power transfer, but also at obtaining the support from other countries and international organizations. 

The article focuses on the issue of the legitimacy of the actions of the Zimbabwean military, which forced the president to resign, and deliberates the question of whether these events can be considered a military coup. The work shows that Mugabe ‘involuntary-unconstrained’ departure from the office became a natural result of his actions in the last years of his rule.

KeywordsZimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, Grace Mugabe, Emmerson Mnangagwa, Constantino Chiwenga, coup, military
Publication date24.03.2022
Number of characters27319
100 rub.
When subscribing to an article or issue, the user can download PDF, evaluate the publication or contact the author. Need to register.

Number of purchasers: 1, views: 449

Readers community rating: votes 0

1. Cobham Alex. Mugabe sacks Vice President Mujuru. Al-Jazeera. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2014/12/9/mugabe-sacks-vice-president-mujuru (accessed 05.08.2021)

2. Chan S. 2019. Mugabe: A Life of Power and Violence. University of Michigan Press. P. 230.

3. Rotberg R. Who killed Solomon Mujuru? Africa and Asia: The Key Issues, 2011. https://robertrotberg.wordpress.com/2011/09/13/who-killed-solomon-mujuru/ (accessed 16.08. 2021)

4. Meldrum A. 2005. Where We Have Hope: A Memoir of Zimbabwe. Atlantic Monthly Press. P. 79.

5. Standard R. The amazing world of First Ladies. Modern Ghana, 2006. https://www.modernghana.com/news/102698/the-amazing-world-of-first-ladies.html (accessed 11.09. 2021)

6. Rogers D. 2019. Two Weeks In November: The astonishing untold story of the operation that toppled Mugabe. Short Books Ltd, United Kingdom.

7. Fletcher M. The last days of Robert Mugabe. New Statesman, 2017. https://www.newstatesman.com/world/2017/01/last-days-robert-mugabe (accessed 01.09. 2021)

8. Ndlovu R. 2018. In the Jaws of the Crocodile: Emmerson Mnangagwa’s Rise to Power in Zimbabwe. Cape Town, South Africa: Penguin Books.

9. Parker J. Zimbabwe’s new “bond notes” are falling fast. The Economist, 2017. https://www.economist.com/middle-east-and-africa/2017/02/18/zimbabwes-new-bond-notes-are-falling-fast (accessed 11.10.2021)

10. York G. Mugabe’s Zimbabwe has an angry population and a potentially violent future. The Globe and Mail, 2017. https://www.theglobeandmail.com/news/world/mugabes-zimbabwe-has-an-angry-population-and-a-potentially-violentfuture/article36934238/ (accessed 27.08.2021)

11. Donnelly C. Hanging out with Zim’s first shopper. New Zimbabwe, 2003. https://web.archive.org/web/20031221214839/https://www.newzimbabwe.com/pages/shopper.1156.html (accessed 15.08.2021)

12. Machivenyika F. VP Mnangagwa fired from Govt. The Herald, 2017. https://www.herald.co.zw/breaking-ed-mnangagwa-fired/ (accessed 14.06.2021)

13. Mnangagwa E. Full statement: “I’m not going anywhere... Zanu-PF is not your personal property,” Mnangagwa tells Mugabe. News24, 2017. https://www.news24.com/news24/Africa/Zimbabwe/full-statement-im-not-going-anywhere-zanu-pf-is-not-your-per-sonal-property-mnangagwa-tells-mugabe-20171108 (accessed 10.10.2021)

14. Nyarota G. 2018. The graceless fall of Robert Mugabe: the end of a dictator's reign. Cape Town, South Africa: Penguin Books. P. 158.

15. Chiwenga C. Statement by Zimbabwe Defence Forces Commander Gnl Chiwenga, Monday 13 November 2017. Veritaszim, 2017. http://www.veritaszim.net/node/2256 (accessed 07.10.2021)

16. Quansah M. Zimbabwe military chief Chiwenga in Zanu-PF purge warning. BBC News, 2017. https://www.bbc.com/news/world-africa-41970317 (accessed 22.09.2021)

17. Zwayi C. Prof Moyo: Death by Twitter. The Sunday Mail, 2017. https://www.sundaymail.co.zw/prof-moyo-death-by-twitter (accessed 08.10.2021)

18. Soudan F. Zimbabwe: the secrets behind Mugabe’s demise. The Africa Report, 2019. https://www.theafricareport.com/20342/zimbabwe-the-secrets-behind-mugabes-demise/ (accessed 16.07.2021)

19. Moyo S. We are targeting criminals around the President. The Herald, 2017. https://www.herald.co.zw/we-are-targeting-criminals-around-the-president/ (accessed 27.07.2021)

20. McIntosh E. Zimbabwe's military takeover was the world's strangest coup CNN, 2017. https://edition.cnn.com/2017/11/20/africa/zimbabwe-military-takeover-strangest-coup/index.html (accessed 12.10.2021)

21. Brooks Spector J. Zimbabwe: When is a coup not a coup? Daily Maverick, 2017. https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2017-11-20-zimbabwe-when-is-a-coup-not-a-coup/ (accessed 02.10.2021)

22. Pollitt R. An interview with the Zimbabwean Jesuit who mediated Mugabe’s fall from power. America Magazine, 2017. https://www.americamagazine.org/politics-society/2017/12/14/interview-zimbabwean-jesuit-who-mediated-mugabes-fall-power (accessed 29.09.2021)

23. Manyowa M. Zimbabwe: Thousands march in solidarity with military, demand Robert Mugabe’s exit. Daily Maverick, 2017. https://www.dailymaverick.co.za/article/2017-11-18-zimbabwe-thousands-march-in-solidarity-with-military-demand-robert-muga-bes-exit/ (accessed 15.09.2021)

24. Blessing-Miles T. 2020. The motivations and dynamics of Zimbabwe’s 2017 military coup. African Affairs, Vol. 119, Issue 474, pp. 39-67. https://doi.org/10.1093/afraf/adz024

25. Chigara B. Operation Restore Legacy (2017) renders Southern African Development Community (SADC) constitutionalism suspect in the coup d’état that was not a coup. Oregon Review of International Law, 20 (No 1), 2018. https://bura.brunel.ac.uk/ handle/2438/16160 (accessed 04.10.2021)

26. Kioko B. The right of intervention under the African Union’s Constitutive Act: From non-interference to non-intervention. ICRC, 2003. https://www.icrc.org/en/doc/assets/files/other/irrc_852_kioko.pdf (accessed 05.10. 2021)

27. Mugabe announces appointment of controversial wife Grace to a key post. News24, 2017 https://www.news24.com/News24/mugabe-announces-appointment-of-controversial-wife-grace-to-a-key-post-20170915 (accessed 01.10. 2021)

28. Mugabe, Grace bleed Zimbabwe dry. News Day, 2017. https://www.newsday.co.zw/2017/10/mugabe-grace-bleed-zimbabwe-dry/ (accessed 18.08. 2021)

29. Mugoba deployed to the African Union. Zimbabwe Independent, 2017. https://www.theindependent.co.zw/2017/11/03/mugoba-deployed-african-union/ (accessed 02.09.2021)

30. Zanu PF infighting escalates. The Zimbabwe Mail, 2017. https://www.thezimbabwemail.com/politics/zanu-pf-infighting-escalates/ (accessed 22.09. 2021)

31. The crocodile snaps back. Africa Confidential, 2017. https://www.africa-confidential.com/article/id/12165/The_crocodile_snaps_back (accessed 31.09.2021)

32. Zimbabwe's ousted vice-president calls for Mugabe to quit. The Guardian, 2017. https://www.theguardian.com/world/2017/nov/21/zimbabwes-ousted-vice-president-emmerson-mnangagwa-breaks-silence-to-call-for-mugabe-to-go (accessed 02.10. 2021)

33. Shubin V.G. Elections in Zimbabwe. Elections in Southern African countries. Resp. editor Doctor of Sciences (History) V.G.Shubin. Moscow. Pp. 43-54. (In Russ.). ISBN 978-5-91298-262-0

34. Robert Mugabe resigns World reaction. Al-Jazeera, 2017. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/21/robert-mugabe-resigns-world-reaction/ (accessed 08.08.2021)

35. Zimbabwe: What’s happening? Al-Jazeera, 2017. https://www.aljazeera.com/news/2017/11/23/zimbabwe-whats-happening (accessed 08.08.2021)

36. Sidorov V.A. 2020. Zimbabwe: From Mugabe to Mnangagwa. Vestnik Tomskogo gosudarstvennogo universiteta, № 457, pp. 157-167. (In Russ.). DOI: 10.17223/15617793/457/19

Система Orphus