After initial contact between the leadership of the Zimbabwe African Peoples Union and the USSR Committee of State Security, it is established that the organisation faces extinction under the perpetually violent regime of Robert Mugabe. Their leader and former Home Affairs Minister, Joshua Nkomo, agrees to smuggle and hide Soviet advisers in his zone of control, in return for training for his new and extremely secret Matabeleland Liberation Army. The MLA will be trained in political destabilisation and in the conduct of a potential coup d’etat.
Prime Minister Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe is re-elected with a majority of twenty-four seats, but the electorate is clearly divided into three racial factions: white voters, the Shona and the Ndebele. Opposition Leader Ian Smith states that Mugabe has insufficient numbers to modify the constitution and suggests an alliance between himself and Joshua Nkomo.
An uprising in Matabeleland North, Zimbabwe, centred on the business district of Tsholotsho leads to an attack on ZANU-PF and headquarters. Over sixty associates of Prime Minister Robert Mugabe are killed. The protestors demand an inquiry into ethnic cleansing. After this quick strike, the Matabeleland Liberation Army claim responsibility and demand a federal constitution in which Matabeleland and Mashonaland are equal partners and have equal parliamentary representation, as well as a rotational presidency.
Joshua Nkomo, the opposition leader of Zimbabwe, is accused of connection to the Matabeleland Liberation Army by Prime Minister Robert Mugabe. With his forces outnumbered three to one and facing certain death, Nkomo flees to Botswana. He receives support, unofficially from South Africa and officially from Botswana, both of whom are keen to destabilise Zimbabwe. He calls for a defensive campaign by the MLA.
Prime Minister Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe declares war on the Matabeleland, calling up the ZANU militia to defend his government against “British plots”. UK Prime Minister Nigel Lawson warns that violence against civilians will not be tolerated and calls for Mugabe not to launch a civil war on the basis of “unfounded accusations”.
Members of the Zimbabwean Parliament resign in protest over Mugabe’s march toward civil war, calling for reconciliation between himself and opposition leader Joshua Nkomo. Mugabe refuses, leaving minorities on both sides to be brutally murdered. Prime Minister of Britain, Nigel Lawson, expresses “grave concern at the collapse of civil society” as Zimbabwean rebels flee into the Matobo Hills. This event marks the beginning of the Zimbabwean Civil War, in which South Africa, Botswana and Zambia will support non-government forces, while Mozambique will support the incumbent regime in Harare. Attacks on Mugabe will consist primarily of guerrilla tactics, rather than open warfare.
Former members of the MLA gather in Botswana to announce the establishment of the United Republic of Mthwakazi under Joshua Nkomo. (They declare Robert Mugabe to be the President of the Shona Republic.) Nkomo demands negotiation and arbitration, but insists that Mugabe must be deprived of his paramilitary in a “visible and verifiable manner” and that the Army must be confined to barracks. None of his demands will be met.
Simon Muzenda, Deputy Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, moves against his leader, Robert Mugabe, and successfully ousts him in a military-backed coup d’etat. Prime Minister Muzenda’s own people make up the bulk of the armed forces and are dissatisfied with Mugabe, who, while still Shona, comes from another branch of the tribe. Muzenda states that failures to deal with the rebels so far have been an “inexcusable failure”. Mugabe is imprisoned.
Prime Minister Simon Muzenda of Zimbabwe becomes President, pushing out ceremonial head of state Canaan Banana. He justifies the action as a necessity to maintain “a united course of action”, given the ongoing war within the country. Diplomatic pressure is building within the international community for a ceasefire and a negotiated solution to the conflict in Zimbabwe.
Twenty whites are hacked to death with machetes in western Zimbabwe, allegedly for providing support and sanctuary to members of the Matabeleland Liberation Army. President Simon Muzenda defends the action, stating that the whites were defending “capitalist values”.
President Simon Muzenda of Zimbabwe claims that imprisoned former Prime Minister, Robert Mugabe has been in communication with “terrorist leader” Joshua Nkomo. He orders that Mugabe be subjected to a “presidential commission” to determine his guilt in a plot to despose Muzenda and restore Mugabe to the national leadership.
Under pressure from all sides, Zimbabwean President Simon Muzenda convenes a “presidential commission” to investigate whether or not Robert Mugabe has committed any criminal acts. In reality, it is a kangaroo court, designed specifically to give Muzenda control over Mugabe’s continued existence if he became too much of a symbol.
Former Prime Minister of Zimbabwe, Robert Mugabe, is sentenced to death, but President Simon Muzenda does not carry out the sentence due to his fear of splitting the Shona. He warns foreigners that attempts to intervene in Zimbabwean affairs could lead to Mugabe’s death.
Following a bloody massacre of civilians in the ongoing war in Zimbabwe, Britain joins Botswana in agreeing to recognise the exiled leadership of the Republic of Mthwakazi and to begin supplying assistance to rebel leadership in Bulawayo and Gaborone. Foreign Secretary David Steel begins a six-month campaign to advance UN recognition of Mthwakazi and to have sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe.
Joshua Nkomo announces the formation of the Mthwakazi Governmental Transition Authority in Gaborone, Botswana. He charges that it will create a constitution and a transitional parliament over the next two years.
Official sources out of Zimbabwe indicate that former leader Robert Mugabe has been died in an accident while being transported between prison facilities. British Prime Minister Neil Kinnock state that the situation is “clearly spiralling out of control” and suggests that international intervention may be required to end the ethnic violence.
British Prime Minister Neil Kinnock meets with Zimbabwean rebel leader, Joshua Nkomo, and Batswana President Quett Masire in Gaborone at the beginning of an eleven-day visit to various African countries. After a meeting in which it is said that all three men exchange loud and colourful profanities in a discussion on South West Africa, Kinnock downplays the incident and talks about their unity on the creation of a new state of Mthwakazi.
The United Nations Security Council votes to impose comprehensive economic sanctions on Zimbabwe. The sanctions are designed as a measure to weaken the government of Zimbabwe and to force President Simon Muzenda to negotiate with the rebellion in the west of the country.