This series documents the events that occurred in Zimbabwe in November 2017 that led to the resignation of President Robert Mugabe after 37 years in office.
On the 15th November, 2017 the Zimbabwe Defence Forces (ZDF) seized control of strategic locations in the capital city and placed the country’s 93-year-old president, Robert Mugabe, and his family under house arrest. The military intervention took place just over a week after the President had sacked Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa and was widely viewed as the final stage in a succession battle between the ousted Mnangagwa and First Lady, Grace Mugabe, who had been politicking to take over from her husband.
Emboldened by the military presence, tens of thousands of Zimbabweans responded to a call by the leader of the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association (ZNLWVA), Christopher Mutsvangwa, and took to the streets in support of the ZDF and to call for the resignation of the President.
The solidarity march marked the first time in nearly four decades that Zimbabweans were able to protest against Mugabe publically without fear of reprisal. Within a week, Mugabe had resigned and Emmerson Mnangagwa was inaugurated as President.
At the inauguration, many of the spectators had only ever known one President and it was an emotional occasion as people flocked from all over the country to be present for the historic changeover.
Several days earlier, as Mnangagwa returned from exile after the military takeover that had ousted Mugabe, he proclaimed, “The people have spoken. The voice of the people is the voice of God.” His words were emblazoned on signs across the stadium and the promises he made in his inauguration speech gave people a reason to hope that the political and economic situation in the country might change for the better. Yet amongst the crowd, the heavy military presence could not be ignored serving as a reminder of Mnangagwa’s unorthodox ascension to power.
All images © Davina Jogi