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Zimbabwe Timeline -- Part 4: Leaving the Commonwealth to Present Day

A Chronology of Key Events in Zimbabwe

By Alistair Boddy-Evans, About.com

8 December 2003 Zimbabwe leaves the Commonwealth of Nations in response to a continued suspension by the Commonwealth committee.
7 March 2004 US President George W Bush announces economic sanctions against President Robert Mugabe and a score of his officials in the grounds that they are undermining the democratic institutions of the country.
March 2004 Simon Mann, and his group of 63 mercenaries are arrested at Harare Airport, detained as they made their way (allegedly) to help stage a coup d'état in Equatorial Guinea. Mann is sentenced to seven years in prison for attempting to procure arms.
8 June 2004 The Zimbabwean government announces plans to nationalize all farm land and abolish private land ownership. People will be allowed to bid for 99-year leases, payable to the government. The government backtracks 12 days later after international pressure.
October 2004 Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the opposition party, the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) is acquitted of charges for treason over an alleged plot to kill President Robert Mugabe in 2002. There is still a treason charge from June 2003 outstanding.
9 December 2004 Law is passed that bans foreign rights groups from entering Zimbabwe or funding local rights groups within the country.
18 January 2005 Zimbabwe is named as one of six 'outposts of tyranny' by United States Secretary of State, Condoleezza Rice. (The other countries so named by Rice were Belarus, Burma/Myanmar, Cuba, Iran, and North Korea.)
March 2005 3.4 Million Zimbabweans living abroad are banned from taking part in the election, they represent 20% of the electorate.
Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) wins roughly 67% of the votes in parliamentary polls. Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claims the election was rigged.
May-July 2005 Operation Murambatsvina, ('Operation Drive Out Rubbish', though officially known as 'Operation Restore Order') results in the eviction of tens of thousands of slum dwellers. Shanty town homes were declared illegal and, along with unofficial street markets, they were removed by bulldozers in a massive 'clean-up' campaign. The United Nations estimates that around 700,000 peoples were made homeless as a result. The state backed Herald newspaper reports that more than 22,000 people were arrested in the process. Two children are reported to have been crushed as a bulldozer flattened their home.
August 2005 Outstanding treason charge, from 2003, against Morgan Tsvangirai is dropped by government prosecutors.
26 November 2005 Seats for a newly created upper house of parliament, known as the Senate, are up for election. Unsurprisingly, the ruling African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) party wins a majority. The MDC faired badly because Morgan Tsvangirai decided to boycott the elections, this causes in split in the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).
May 2006 Year-on-Year (YoY) inflation has reached 1000%. The government issues new banknotes (with values reduced by a thousand).
16 August 2006 The presidents of Zimbabwe, South Africa, and Mozambique attend the official opening of the Giriyondo borderpart of the planned development of the Greater Limpopo Trans-frontier Park, which will span 14,000 square miles across the three countries.
September 2006 A demonstration against the governments handling of the economic crisis is halted by armed riot police. Union leaders are arrested, and later transferred to hospital. There are allegations that they were tortured whilst in detention.
December 2006 Robert Mugabe's African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) government announces its intention to delay presidential polls by two years, moving them from 2008 to 2010. This is widely seen as an attempt to extend his term in power.
February 2007 Political rallies in Zimbabwe are banned for four months.
11 March 2007 The leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), Morgan Richard Tsvangirai, is beaten and suffers head wounds by Zimbabwean police after his arrest at a rally. Another man is shot dead at a prayer meeting by riot police.
17 May 2007 Inflation has reached a reported 3,700%.
June 2007 Robert Mugabe's African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) hold talks in South Africa.
20 November 2007 Death of Ian Smith, Rhodesia's last white premier, in South Africa. Hw was 88.
March 2008 Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claims victory in presidential and parliamentary elections -- they say that 128 out of 210 parliamentary seats have been won by the MDC, giving them a 60% majority, whilst they say that Tsvangirai had won 50.3% of the presidential vote against Robert Mugabe's 43.8%.
May 2008 Zimbabwe's electoral body announces that although Morgan Tsvangirai, for the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), won a majority of votes in the presidential election, it was not enough to avoid a 'run-off' against Robert Mugabe. Mugabe's 'war veterans' march through the streets of Harare to voice their support for Mugabe.
South African President Thabo Mbeki holds talks with Robert Mugabe over the post-election crisis in Zimbabwe.
June 2008 Morgan Tsvangirai pulls out of the second round of presidential voting, just days before the election is to take place, after complaining of intimidation. (At one point 60 MDC supporters are arrested during a raid on Moragn Tsvangirai's headquarters.)
It is reported that over one hundred MDC supporters have been killed in politically motivated violence.
Mugabe is declared the winner of the presidential election by the ruling African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).
A UN Security Council resolution to impose further sanctions on Zimbabwe is vetoed by China and Russia.
July 2008 The European Commission insists that Morgan Tsvangirai be named head of government, South Africa's Thabo Mkeki rejects their call.
August 2008 The ruling African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) and the opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) resume power-sharing negotiations.
October 2008 The EU condemns President Robert Mugabe for a 'unilateral decision' to form a new government despite continuing power-sharing negotiations with the MDC.
July 2009 The EU and US increase the level of sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe despite the failure of the UN resolution the previous month.
September 2008 President Robert Mugabe and opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai sign a power-sharing agreement. The process quickly comes to a halt due to bickering over apportionment of the ministerial posts.
December 2008 National emergency in Zimbabwe as its health care system fails to deal with a cholera epidemic. The death toll exceeds 500.
January 2008 In order to relieve the pressures of hyperinflation, the Zimbabwe government allows the use of foreign currencies.
11 February 2009 Morgan Richard Tsvangirai becomes prime minister, representing the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), whilst Robert Mugabe continues as president.
6 March 2009 Morgan Richard Tsvangirai is injured and his wife, Susan Nyaradzo, is killed in a car crash. Rumors abound about it not being an accident -- two government ministers were killed in separate car crashes back in 2001. It was reported by CNN that an ex-United States Ambassador to Zimbabwe said it was Mugabe's 'Modus Operandi' to remove opposition in this way.
March 2009 For the first time after years of hyperinflation shop prices begin to fall.
April 2009 Diamond certification body calls for a ban on trade of Zimbabwean diamonds over concern for human rights abuses.
June 2009 A constitutional review is undertaken. Meanwhile Prime Minster Morgan Tsvangirai tours the United States and Europe.
September 2009 On the first anniversary of power-sharing between the Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) and Robert Mugabe's African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF), the MDC express frustration about intimidation of its members and political violence.
International Monetary Fund releases $400 million as part of G20 agreement to help Africa. The World Bank announces a $74 million grant to improve the agricultural sector.
December 2009 President Robert Mugabe re-elected as leader of African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF) for another five years.
January 2010 Morgan Tsvangirai, the Prime Minster representing the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), calls for softening of sanctions against Zimbabwe.
The Zimbabwean High Court throws out a regional court ruling that Mugabe's land-grab was illegal.
March 2010 New legislation requiring foreign owned businesses to be majority owned by Zimbabweans comes into effect.
8 April 2010 Death of Bishop Abel Muzorewa at the age of 85. He was the first black leader of the former white settler state of Rhodesia, and became an opponent of Robert Mugabe after independence.
June 2010 White, commercial farmers plead for action over renewed farm invasions.
August 2010 With the world still reacting to claims of human rights abuses at the Marange diamond fields, Zimbabwe recommences the sale of diamonds.
December 2010 Robert Mugabe is the chosen nominee for the presidential race for the ruling African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).
Robert Mugabe's wife Grace is cited, amongst other Zimbabwean government officials and members of the elite, in diplomatic cables released by WikiLeaks as being involved in the illegal diamond smuggling trade.
February 2011 Sanctions against 35 of Mugabe's supporters are reduced by the European Union and their assets are un-frozen.
March 2011 Morgan Tsvangirai, the Prime Minster representing the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), claims that the work of the government is being undermined by politically motivated violence by members of the African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF).
15 August 2011 Retired General Solomon Mujuru, leader of Robert Mugabe's guerrilla forces during the civil War (Rhodesian Bush War) and ex-Army Chief dies in a 'suspicious' house fire. He had been representing the Chikomba district in parliament for the African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). He was believed to have been under security force surveillance since being implicated in a plot against Mugabe in November 2007.
November 2011 Ban on export of Zimbabwean diamonds is lifted from two of the Marange mines as part of the Kimberly Process. This follows extensive negotiations involving Zimbabwe, the European Union, South Africa, The United States, and the World Diamond Council.
December 2011 Robert Mugabe affirms his intention to run in the next elections for African National Union-Patriotic Front (ZANU-PF). He also states that he wishes to do away with power-sharing.
April 2012 Reports of political violence in Zimbabwe are increasing. The Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) claims that government forces repeatedly shut down its political rallies.

Zimbabwe Timeline
Part 1: Prehistory to UDI
Part 2: UDI to One-Party State
Part 3: One-Party State to Leaving the Commonwealth

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

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