Published: Mon, June 25, 2018
Worldwide | By Gretchen Simon

Zimbabwe election 'to go ahead as planned' after blast

Zimbabwe election 'to go ahead as planned' after blast

Injured people are attended to as they lay on the ground following an explosion at a Zanu pf rally in Bulawayo, Saturday, June, 23, 2018.

Zimbabwe President Emmerson Mnangagwa escaped unhurt after an explosion rocked a stadium where he was addressing a political rally on Saturday, a month before the country is due to hold its presidential elections. "There have been multiple attempts on the president's life over the past five years", said George Charamba, the president's spokesman.

Mr Mnangagwa came to power last November after ousting Mr Mugabe. I am not threatening the life of the president but actually providing a tip that may help keep him alive.

Mnangagwa said an object "exploded a few inches away from me - but it is not my time".

Mr Chiwenga's wife, Mary, Zanu-PF party chairperson Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and another party official, Ms Mabel Chinomona, were among senior officials injured in the attack.

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ZBC described the blast as "an assassination attempt".

Mr Mnangagwa later visited those who were injured in the blast at the local hospital.

At Mpilo Hospital on the western edge of Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city, Zanu-PF members could still be seen milling about casualty and the wards tending to injured people and relatives in the late hours.

The vote will be a key test for Mnangagwa, 75, who succeeded the 94-year-old autocrat and remains untested at the ballot box.

Among Zimbabwe's small but vibrant Twitter and Facebook communities, people posted theories, including accusations this was an inside job meant to gain sympathy votes in an opposition stronghold. "These are people who are hurting, who want to harm the president and they have access", one of the sources told Reuters, declining to be named. Mnangagwa, a former justice and defense minister who served for decades as Mugabe's enforcer, has invited Western election observers for the first time in nearly two decades. He condemned the violence as senseless and pleaded for unity.

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