Zimbabwe: Developments since the military takeover

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Zimbabwe: Developments since the military takeover

Zimbabwe: Developments since the military takeover

Harare (AFP) - Here is a timeline of the developing political crisis in Zimbabwe, where the military has taken control of the country but President Robert Mugabe is clinging to power.

- Army takes control -

- November 14: Tanks are seen moving on the outskirts of the capital a day after army chief Constantino Chiwenga denounces Mugabe's sacking of Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa is seen as a rival of Mugabe's wife Grace, 52, to succeed the veteran 93-year-old leader.

Later, heavy gunfire is heard near Mugabe's residence in Harare.

Military officers deny a coup. In an overnight declaration on state television, they say Mugabe is safe and they are "only targeting criminals around him".

- Mugabe under house arrest -

- November 15: Military vehicles take control of the streets of Harare from the early hours, controlling access to parliament, ruling party headquarters and the Supreme Court.

South Africa says Mugabe has told its president, Jacob Zuma, by telephone that he is under house arrest but is "fine".

South Africa sends two special envoys to Zimbabwe. The European Union urges a peaceful resolution to the crisis.

Former colonial power Britain urges all sides in Zimbabwe to refrain from violence and says the situation is "very fluid".

The head of the African Union, Guinea's President Alpha Conde, says the situation "seems like a coup". He calls on the military to halt their actions and restore constitutional order.

- Mugabe refuses to step down -

- November 16: Mugabe refuses to resign during talks with generals, a source close to the army leadership says.

Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai also calls for Mugabe to go "in the interest of the people".

Mugabe and envoys from the Southern African Development Community (SADC), dispatched by Zuma, hold talks at the presidency.

- Mnangagwa returns, pressure on Mugabe -

- November 17: Ousted vice president Mnangagwa, widely tipped to become a transition leader if Mugabe leaves, has returned to Zimbabwe after nearly a week abroad, a senior aide says.

Mugabe makes a first public appearance since the military takeover, attending a university graduation ceremony.

The army says negotiations with the elderly president are continuing.

Veterans of Zimbabwe's independence war call for mass anti-Mugabe street protests on Saturday. Their leader Christopher Mutsvangwa tells Mugabe "the game is up".

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson says the people of Zimbabwe must choose their own government through elections.

In Ivory Coast, President Alassane Ouattara says it is time for Mugabe "to hand over his seat to a new generation."