November 6: Mugabe fires Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa, a rival of Mugabe’s wife Grace, 52, to succeed the veteran 93-year-old leader in power. The government-owned Chronicle newspaper later accuses Mr Mnangagwa and his supporters of being “prepared to stampede President Mugabe from power.”
November 8: Mr Mnangagwa is believed to have fled the country to South Africa. The party “is not personal property for you and your wife to do as you please,” he tells Mr Mugabe in an angry five-page statement, vowing to return to Zimbabwe to lead party members. The ruling ZANU-PF party later says it has expelled him.
November 13: Zimbabwe’s army chief General Constantino Chiwenga warns the military could intervene to stop what he calls a purge of Mr Mugabe’s rivals in ZANU-PF, branding them “treacherous shenanigans”.
November 14: A convoy of military vehicles are spotted rolling into the Zimbabwean capital, Harare. Gunfire is also heard near to Mr Mugabe’s home. The army denies a coup. In an overnight declaration on state television, military chiefs say Mr Mugabe is safe and they are “only targeting criminals around him”.
November 15: Military vehicles take control of the streets of Harare in the early hours, as South Africa’s President Jacob Zuma confirms he has spoken to Mr Mugabe who tells him he has been placed under house arrest. His wife is believed to have fled to Namibia, according to Sky sources.
What we know so far:
The Zimbabwean army has said president Robert Mugabe and his wife have been taken into custody after gunfire was heard near his compound and troops seized control of the state broadcaster.
Loud explosions were heard in Harare in the early hours of Wednesday after military vehicles rolled into the capital, triggering speculation of a “bloodless” coup.
The blasts and gunfire came hours after a military chief warned the army could “step in” amid a political crisis sparked by 93-year-old Mr Mugabe firing his vice president – and likely successor – Emmerson Mnangagwa earlier this month.
General Constantino Chiwenga, commmander of Zimbabwe’s defence forces, had demanded an end to a purge in the ruling ZANU-PF party – which appeared to be paving the way for Mr Mugabe’s 52-year-old wife Grace to succeed him.
In a statement read on state TV, Major General Sibusiso Moyo said: “Comrade Mugabe and his family are safe and sound and their security is guaranteed.
“We are only targeting criminals around him who are committing crimes that are causing social and economic suffering in the country, in order to bring them to justice.”
General Chiwenga – who Mr Mugabe had accused of treason for his intervention – said: “We wish to make it abundantly clear that this is not a military takeover of government.
“What the defence forces are doing is to pacify a degenerating political social and economic situation in our country, which if not addressed may result in a violent conflict.”
Supporters of the Zimbabwean military have insisted it is a “bloodless correction of gross abuse of power”.
EU calls for peaceful resolution in Zimbabwe
“The recent political developments in Zimbabwe, and their spillover, including in relation to the country’s security forces, are a matter of concern,” says a spokesman for the European Commission, the EU executive.
“We are following the situation closely and we want to underline that the fundamental rights of all citizens need to be respected and the constitutional order and democratic governance needs to be upheld.
“We call on all relevant players to move from confrontation to dialogue with the aim to a peaceful crisis resolution.”
British nationals advised to stay indoors
The UK’s acting ambassador to Zimbabwe Simon Thomas has urged all British nationals in Zimbabwe for work or leisure to stay at home in their hotel rooms.
“I can confirm that military remain deployed at strategic locations around Harare this morning,” he says.
“As an embassy our prime concern is obviously for the safety and security of British nationals and our advice to any British nationals who are here in Harare, either living or working or visiting, is to stay at home, stay in your hotel room, wait until things settle down a little bit.”
Boris Johnson urges Zimbabweans to “refrain from violence”
The British Foreign Secretary reacts to developments in Zimbabwe.
He tells reporters: “We’re monitoring the situation very closely, as you can imagine.
“Our ambassador has been in touch to say if UK nationals are concerned they should get in touch with our embassy.
“At the moment it’s very fluid and it’s hard to say exactly how this will turn out.
“The most important point to make is that everybody wants to see a stable and successful Zimbabwe and we’re appealing for everybody to refrain from violence, that’s the crucial point.”