This Gukurahundi Timeline shows the series of events and the course of violent disturbances in Zimbabwe from April 1980 to July 1990.

For more information click on the Gukurahundi Profile.

Contents

1980

April

Zimbabwe gains independence. ZANU-PF win 57 seats out of 100 and Cde Robert Mugabe assumes leadership of the nation. Before and after Independence there are sporadic outbursts of violence in the vicinity of Guerrilla Assembly Points (APs) all over the country.

July

State of Emergency, in place since 1965 renewed: it is further renewed every six months until July 1990.

October

Prime Minister Mugabe enters into an agreement with North Korea for the training and arming of a brigade of the Zimbabwe defence forces.

The Dumbutshena Report is commissioned by the government to investigate events surrounding the Entumbane uprising: to date its findings have been suppressed.

August

Inkomo Army Barracks sabotaged by South African agents destroying $50 million in ammunition and equipment.

August

North Korean instructors arrive to begin training the "5 Brigade", which will be used to "combat dissidents".

December

South African agents sabotage ZANU-PF headquarters, killing 7 and injuring 124.

1982

February

"Discovery" of arms caches in Matabeleland leads to arrest of ZIPRA high commanders and expulsion of ZAPU leaders from cabinet. Ex-ZIPRAS defect in large numbers and banditry increases.

June

There is an abortive attack on Prime Minister Mugabe's residence. A ZIPRA connection is established, leading to curfews, detentions and weapon searches in Bulawayo.

July

November

CCJP sends a confidential report to the Prime Minister expressing concern at army excesses.

December

The 5 Brigade has its "passing out" parade and is ready for deployment.


1983

January

February

Atrocities continue and first documentation is presented to government.

March

April

5 April: The curfew is lifted in Matabeleland North.

July

22 July: 5 Brigade is withdrawn from Matabeleland for a brief retraining session.

August

29 August: 5 Brigade is redeployed in Matabeleland North.

September

Chihambakwe Commission of Inquiry is set up to investigate atrocities in Matabeleland.

1984

January

February

4 February: A food embargo is imposed on Matabeleland South and 5 Brigade is simultaneously deployed in the region. Mass detentions follow, with thousands of civilians being incarcerated at Bhalagwe Camp in Matobo District.

April

July


1985

ZANU-PF Youth rampages continue before and after the July elections, resulting in 2000 being left homeless and scores dead in Matabeleland, the Midlands and Harare.

February

The CIO orchestrates a spate of detentions of ZAPU officials countrywide. Many of those detained disappear permanently.

March

CCJP send a confidential report to the Prime Minister condemning the bullying of opposition party members.

July

August

Dissidents target Shona-speaking civilians in an attack in Mwenezi, killing 22. CCJP is among those who condemn the attack.

November

It is announced the Chihambakwe Commission's report will not be made public.


1986

March

2 March: ZIPRA commanders in jail for 4 years are released.

December

A ZIPRA High Commander is released, to facilitate unity talks.

1987

January

It is announced in Parliament that during 1986 dissidents killed 116 civilians, raped 57, abducted 20 and committed 210 robberies. CCJP release a confidential report on Torture in Zimbabwe to the Prime Minister.

February

It is announced at a rally in Bulawayo that Unity is imminent.

April

Unity talks break down.

June

All ZAPU rallies and meetings are banned.

September

ZAPU is effectively banned: offices are raided and officials detained.

October

Unity talks resume.

November

Dissidents murder 16 on a mission farm in Matobo.

December

The Unity Accord is signed by Joshua Nkomo and Robert Mugabe.

1988

April

An Amnesty is announced for all dissidents, and 122 surrender.

June

The Amnesty is extended to include all members of the army who committed offences before the Unity Accord.

1990

July

The State of Emergency is not renewed.