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Zimbabwe Timeline -- Part 3: One-Party State to Leaving the Commonwealth

A Chronology of Key Events in Zimbabwe

By Alistair Boddy-Evans, About.com

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.
1990 Elections won once more by ZANU-PF, Mugabe re-elected as president.
1991 Opposition parties are legalized, but conditions are placed with effectively stops them from campaigning.
20 October 1991 Commonwealth of Nations adopt the Harare Declaration, which sets out core principles for membership and redefines the Commonwealth's purpose -- nurturing international peace and security, ending the Cold War, promoting democracy and human rights. It comes at the end of the 12th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting.
1992 Land Acquisition Act brought in to allow government purchase of white-settler owned land to be redistributed to black Africans.
Britain stops financial support for Zimbabwe's land reform program over alleged mismanagement and corruption.
9 December 1997 Zimbabwean Congress of Trade Unions calls for a general strike to protest against increasing unemployment, taxes, inflation and corruption.
January 1998 With growing lack of food security and an economy in freefall, protests spread across Zimbabwe. A nationwide strikes is held to oppose President Robert Mugabe's increasingly authoritarian rule. The Army is ordered into Harare after two days of rioting.
21 August 1998 Zimbabwe send the first of its contingent of troops into the Democratic Republic of the Congo to support President Laurent-Désiré Kabila (he had overthrown President Mobutu Sese Seko on 17 May 1997). Rwanda calls for a cease fire, and says it will intervene in the civil war if Zimbabwean troops are not withdrawn.
September 1998 A peace summit is held in Zimbabwe over the possibility of a cease fire in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. It only takes one day before the first delegates storm-out in protest.
14 October 1998 President Robert Mugabe meets with President Laurent-Désiré Kabila of the Democratic Republic of the Congo to discuss further support against rebel fighters.
November 1998 The Zimbabwean government announces that it will seize an additional 841 white-owned farms as part of its land reform program. The number is reduced by 100 or so to assuage the International Monetary Fund and assure the continuation of a $53 million loan.
26 November 1998 Former President of Zimbabwe, Canaan Sodindo Banana, is convicted of 11 sex offenses including sodomy and homosexual assault of his aide Jefta Dube. Banana feels the country whilst on bail seeking safety first in Botswana and then South Africa. Banana claims that the charges are politically motivated.
16 December 1998 Canaan Sodindo Banana returns to Zimbabwe after meeting Nelson Mandela in South Africa. In January he is sentenced to nine years suspended (he was also defrocked), and he serves six months in an open prison.
January 1999 23 Army officers are arrested for allegedly plotting a coup. This is later denied by the government, and the journalists who reported it are arrested.
1999 Economic failings continue. Popular opposition grows to Zimbabwe's military involvement in the Democratic Republic of the Congo's civil war.
Opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is founded by Morgan Tsvangirai.
June 1999 The Daily News, which supports the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), opens. The publisher, Geoffrey Nyarota, is arresnted in 2001 and forced into exile in the US 2003.
1 July 1999 Death of Joshua Nkomo, traditional Ndebele leader, former vice-president, and leading Zimbabwean nationalist.
2000 Expropriation of white settler farms by war veterans and squatters. Hundreds of previously white-owned farms are seized. Food production collapses and inflation explodes.
12 February 2000 Proposals for Mugabe to change the constitution are rejected by voters in a referendum. Inflation has reached 60%.
June 2000 Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) narrowly defeats the challenge from Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC). Although Mugabe retains the presidency, he ahs lost the battle to amend the constitution.
October 2000 Opposition party Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) attempts to impeach President Robert Mugabe.
May 2001 Two government ministers, Employment Minister Border Gezi and Defense Minister Moven Mahachi, die, some say suspiciously, in car accidents.
June 29 2001 The Zimbabwean government announces that an additional 2,700 white owned farms are to be appropriated as part of the land reform program.
July 2001 Simba Makoi, the Zimbabwean Minister of Finance, acknowledges the country's economic crisis. There are serious food shortages and foreign reserves are critically depleted. The situation is made worse because international donors, including the World Bank and International Monetary Fund, have slashed aid in reaction to President Robert Mugabe's program of land seizures.
2001 Almost exponential increase in number of white-owned farms invaded by Mugabe's 'war veterans'.
February 2002 Zimbabwe government enacts a law which limits press freedom.
Sanctions are imposed by the European Union after the head of its electoral observer mission is expelled.
March 2002 Mugabe re-elected as president despite widespread accusations of electoral irregularities by the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and international observers.
Evictions of white farmers progresses.
19 March 2002 Zimbabwe is removed form the Commonwealth council for a year in protest against the electoral malpractice and violence.
April 2002 Zimbabwe government declares a sate of emergency over food shortages and potential famine.
May 2002 New land acquisition laws are enacted.
June 2002 Zimbabwe government imposes its new land acquisition laws, giving around 3,000 white farmers just 45 days to leave their land.
13 February 2002 Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is charged with treason for an alleged plot to kill President Robert Mugabe.
March 2003 Zimbabwean government responds with violence and arrests to a general strike held across much of the country.
June 2003 Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), is arrested twice in one week whilst attending protest rallies. Tsvangirai is charged once again with treason on the 6th of June and released on bail a fortnight later.
10 November 2003 Death of Canaan Sodindo Banana, first (non-executive or 'figurehead') president of Zimbabwe, of cancer. His body is returned to Zimbabwe for burial. He was not given full state honors because of his prison sentence for sodomy (which, it was claimed, was politically motivated).
28 November 2003 President Robert Mugabe threatens to pull out of the Commonwealth of Nations after members of the 54-nation group bar him from attending a summit in Nigeria.
8 December 2003 Zimbabwe leaves the Commonwealth of Nations in response to a continued suspension by the Commonwealth committee.

Zimbabwe Timeline
Part 1: Prehistory to UDI
Part 2: UDI to One-Party State
Part 4: Leaving the Commonwealth to Present Day

Related Topics
Commonwealth of Nations
Operation Murambatsvina
Gukurahundi
British South Africa Company (BSAC)
Unilateral Declaration of Independence (UDI)

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