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Zimbabwe Timeline -- Part 2: UDI to One-Party State

A Chronology of Key Events in Zimbabwe

By Alistair Boddy-Evans, About.com

11 November 1965 With the re-election of the Rhodesian Front (RF), Prime Minister Ian Smith announces UDI (Unilateral Declaration of Independence) from the UK. Amid international outrage, the British government imposes economic sanctions.
Clifford Walter Dupont becomes the Officer Administering the Government, i.e. Head of State.
The Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole and Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), and Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU), begin guerrilla war against white Rhodesians.
20 November 1965 UN Security Council calls for a boycott of Rhodesia.
28 December 1965 US bans sale of oil to Rhodesia.
1966 Battle of Chinhoyi is first major battle of the guerrilla war.
29 May 1968 UN Resolution 253, Question Concerning the Situation in Southern Rhodesia, requires member states to withdraw consular and trade representation with the country, to stop emigration to Southern Rhodesia, and stop illegal trading with the country. It also urged member states to provide moral and material assistance to disenfranchised majority in Southern Rhodesia to achieve their freedom and independence. It further required Great Britain, as the administering power, to act against Ian Smith's government in order to further the independence of Southern Rhodesia's majority, and to bring an end to what it called a 'rebellion' by using 'all possible measures'.
1968 Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa, the first black prime minister of Zimbabwe / Rhodesia (1 June 1979 - 11 December 1979), is consecrated bishop by the United Methodist church.
1 March 1970 Ian Smith's government declares full independence from Britain and declares a republic.
2 March 1970 Clifford Walter Dupont becomes President of the Republic of Rhodesia.
17 March 1970 US vetoes a vote in the UN Security Council for a resolution condemning Britain for a failure to use force against Ian Smith's regime in Rhodesia.
1970 Guerrillas fighting Ian Smith's regime fail in an attempt to blow up Cecil Rhodes' tomb in the Maputo Hills.
1971 Bishop Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa forms the African National Council (ANC) with the aim of opening negotiations with Ian Smith's government.
1972 Rivalry intensifies between the two nationalist, guerrilla movements: The Reverend Ndabaningi Sithole and Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU), and Joshua Nkomo's Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU). They are attacking targets in Rhodesia from their bases in Mozambique and Malawi.
1974 Under increasing pressure from guerrilla attacks, Ian Smith agrees to the release of political prisoners in advance of peace talks. The peace talks, however, fail.
31 December 1975 Henry Bredon Everard becomes President of the Republic of Rhodesia.
14 January 1976 John James Wrathall becomes President of the Republic of Rhodesia.
3 March 1976 Mozambique closes its border with Rhodesia.
1976 Robert Mugabe has engineered himself into the leadership of ZANU.
Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and Zimbabwe African People's Union-Patriotic Front (ZAPU-PF) unite to form the Patriotic Front (PF). They receive backing from frontline states in southern Africa: Mozambique, Tanzania, Botswana, and Zambia.
Joshua Nkomo is in exile in Zambia, Robert Mugabe escapes to Mozambique.
31 August 1977 Ian Smith, with a policy of racial segregation, wins the general election with more than 80% of the vote.
3 March 1978 After negotiations forced on Prime Minister Ian Smith by international pressure, an agreement is signed between Ian Smith's government and Bishop Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa's African National Council (ANC) to end hostilities and prepare for black majority rule. A constitution is to be drawn up by a delegation headed by the nationalist Ndabaningi Sithole and Chief Jeremiah Chirau to create a transitional government which would be lead by the Patriotic front (PF), the amalgamation of the Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU). Smith agrees to step down after elections in 1979.
31 August 1978 Henry Bredon Everard becomes President of the Republic of Rhodesia.
1 November 1978 Jack William Pithey becomes President of the Republic of Rhodesia.
5 March 1979 Henry Bredon Everard becomes President of the Republic of Rhodesia.
10 April 1979 First multi-racial democratic elections held in Rhodesia -- Bishop Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa's United African National Congress wins 51 seats. Ndabaningi Sithole's Zimbabwe African National Union wins 12 seats.
31 May 1979 Zimbabwe declared independent under new constitution.
1 June 1979 Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa becomes prime minister for the United African National Congress (UANC) and Josiah Zion Gumede becomes president of the Republic of Zimbabwe/Rhodesia. The new state fails to achieve international recognition. The civil war continues. Republic reverts to a British colony on 11 December 1979.
December 1979 Four years of negotiations at Lancaster House, London, have resulted in an agreement for a new constitution in Rhodesia leading to majority rule for the country's black population. As a ceasefire is brought into effect, Britain resumes its role as colonial master.
12 December 1979 Arthur C. John Soames now represents the Queen as Governor of the colony of Rhodesia, replacing Josiah Zion Gumede as Head of State.
21 December 1979 Lancaster House Agreement is signed between representatives of the British government, Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe for the Patriotic Front (the amalgamation of Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU) and the Zimbabwe African People's Union (ZAPU)), and representatives of the Zimbabwe / Rhodesia government headed by Ian Smith and Bishop Abel Tendekayi Muzorewa.
February 1980 Mugabe becomes prime minister following a violent election campaign supposedly supervised by Britain.
1 April 1980 The Southern African Development Coordination Conference (SADCC), the forerunner of today's Southern African Development Community (SADC), created by the adoption by nine southern African countries (Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia, and Zimbabwe) of the Lusaka Declaration on the Commonwealth on Racism and Racial Prejudice.
18 April 1980 Rhodesia now independent as the Republic of Zimbabwe. Canaan Sodindo Banana, a Methodist theologian, is president, Robert Gabriel Mugabe continues as prime minister for Zimbabwe African National Union (ZANU). Zimbabwe African People's Union's (ZAPU) Joshua Nkomo is given a post in Mugabe's cabinet -- as Minister for Home Affairs he has responsibility for the police and internal security. 18 April is the internationally recognized date for independence.
October 1980 President Robert Mugabe agrees with the president of North Korea, Kim Il Sung, that a brigade of the Zimbabwean National Army would be trained by 106 of their military experts.
17 February 1982 Joshua Nkomo is removed from post of Minister for Home Affairs by Robert Mugabe, accused of planning to overthrow Mugabe's government. Mugabe deploys his North Korean trained Fifth Brigade in Matabeleland to crush pro-Nkomo forces. (It is now considered by many to have been the beginning of an attempted genocide.) Thousands of Ndebele in Matabeleland and the Midlands of Zimbabwe are killed over the next few years in what is known as the Gukurahundi.
1983 A judicial investigation into the suppression of Matabeleland 'guerrillas' by the Fifth Brigade is suppressed.
1983-84 Further Matabeleland unrest. Mugabe carries out a pogrom (the Gukurahundi) against the Zimbabwe African People's Union-Patriotic Front (ZAPU-PF) homeland.
1985 Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) win national elections with a mandate to create a one-party state. Many opposition Zimbabwe African People's Union-Patriotic Front (ZAPU-PF) members are arrested or killed.
1987 Zimbabwe African People's Union-Patriotic Front (ZAPU-PF) is banned.
The provision of seats for white settlers in parliament is abolished.
22 December 1987 After conciliation between Robert Mugabe and Joshua Nkomo, the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and Zimbabwe African People's Union-Patriotic Front (ZAPU-PF) sign a unity agreement, Mugabe is elected president, Nkomo vice-president. The conflict in the south, Matabeleland, is brought to an end.
18 April 1987 Mugabe becomes executive-president of the Republic of Zimbabwe, for the Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), under a change to the constitution (post of prime minister is abolished).
1988 African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and Zimbabwe African People's Union-Patriotic Front (ZAPU-PF) merge. Zimbabwe now a one-party state.

Zimbabwe Timeline
Part 1: Prehistory to UDI
Part 3: One-Party State to Leaving the Commonwealth
Part 4: Leaving the Commonwealth to Present Day

Related Topics
Southern African Development Community (SADC)
Operation Murambatsvina
British South Africa Company (BSAC)
Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI)

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