Countryaah.com, 2017 would prove to be the year when Robert Mugabe was forced to relinquish power, which he held since
majority rule was introduced in 1980. However, nobody knew
anything about when the year began. On the contrary, Mugabe,
who in February turned 93, seemed to be safely at his post.
In July, he donated $ 1 million, which he earned on
livestock sales, to the African Union (AU) and later that
month, Parliament voted through a constitutional amendment
that gave the president the right to appoint the country's
highest judge alone.
The greater uncertainty prevailed over who would one day
succeed Mugabe. In the power struggle within the ZANU-PF
government party, 41-year-old younger wife Grace Mugabe had
acquired an increasingly strong position. Many also saw it
as a way to rattle her off when Mugabe dismissed Vice
President Emmerson Mnangagwa, one of Mugabe's closest
associates since the liberation struggle in November.
Already in October, Mnangagwa was petitioned as Minister of
Justice and instead he was named one of two Vice Presidents.
Mnangagwa fled to South Africa, according to his own
statement because of his attempted murder. About a week
later, Army Chief Constantino Chiwenga held a press
conference in which he threatened to intervene unless the
regime stopped clearing party members from the freedom
struggle, which was interpreted as a reference to the
dismissal of Mnangagwa. He was minister responsible for
national security 1980-88 and defense minister 2009-13 and
has strong support from the military. On the same night that
Chiwenga expressed his threat, the military took control of
the capital Harare, including the state radio and television
company, and placed Mugabe in house arrest. According to the
military leadership, it was not a coup d'état, but the
campaign was aimed at "criminals around the president", but
it was difficult to interpret the events as anything but a
coup. On November 19, ZANU-PF dismissed Mugabe as party
leader and elected Mnangagwa instead. Despite the party's
demand to step down as president, Mugabe clung to power.
However, under threat of being brought before the national
court, Robert Mugabe announced his departure on November 21.
Where Grace Mugabe found herself was then unknown.
Earlier in the year, the opposition had gathered to
challenge ZANU-PF in the 2018 elections. In March, several
opposition parties demanded that the country's election
commission be dissolved, that voters be registered in a way
that makes it impossible for "ghost voters", that all
parties should have equal access to the state media and that
international observers should be invited to elections.
Among the parties behind the demands were Morgan Tsvangirais
Democratic Change Movement (MDC) and the National People's
Party (NPP), founded in 2016 by former Vice President Joice
Mujuru under the name Zimbabwe's People First (ZPF). In
April, both parties agreed to cooperate ahead of the 2018
elections. In August, Tsvangirai also made peace with the
various outbreak groups that left his MDC and formed his own
That same month, a number of Zimbabwean civil rights
organizations expressed their dissatisfaction that the
African Union had suspended the publication of a critical
report on the human rights situation in Zimbabwe during its
Ethiopian summit. The African leaders stated that it was not
a suspension but a postponement to give the government time
to respond to the charges. The report had already been
prepared in 2002 by the Union Human Rights Commission. It
demonstrated the government's involvement in torture cases,
arbitrary arrests of opposition MPs and human rights
advocates. It also demonstrated the existence of a series of
laws that restrict freedom of expression.
In October, opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai was
declared innocent in the charges of treason and attempted
murder of Robert Mugabe. However, Tsvangirai is also charged
under other treason para. Joyce Mujuru was inaugurated as
Vice President in December.
In January 2005, Mugabe purged Zanu-PF for a number of
senior members. He also put one of the country's richest
men, Philip Chiyangwa, in jail on a charge of espionage.
This happened after Chiyangwa criticized Mugabe for his
election of vice presidents. That same month, information
emerged about systematic persecution and torture of MDC
members - as the regime's preparation for the March
elections. A report pointed out that it was immediately
necessary to help $ 6 million. Zimbabweans out of the 12.5
million there is a lack of food. The United States defined
Zimbabwe as one of the 6 "bastions of tyranny" in the world.
The other 5 on the US blacklist were Belarus, North Korea,
Cuba, Iran and Myanmar.
In March, ZANU-PF got 2/3 of the votes in the
parliamentary elections. Tsvangirai characterized the
election "as a massive election fraud".
In May-June, tens of thousands of illegal and miserable
housing and street shops were leveled to the ground in an
operation to "clean out the big city" but offered no
alternative for the homeless. Acc. estimates by the UN
affected the clearings of 700,000 people.
In August, allegations against Tsvangirai for treason
were withdrawn. In November, ZANU-PF gained a large majority
in the Senate election, which was restored after 6 years of
UN Deputy Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs, Jan
Egeland, after a visit to Zimbabwe in December, declared
that the country was "about to break".