United Nations chief condemns explosion at election rally in Zimbabwe

28 June, 2018, 14:54 | Author: Charlene Valdez
  • Explosion At Zimbabwe Stadium Where President Mnangagwa Addressed Rally

The President, who also leads the ruling party, Zanu-PF, reportedly described the bombing in Bulawayo as an attempt on his life, and appealed for peace and national unity ahead of elections due to take place on 30 July.

The explosive device, which appears to have been thrown detonated just as Mnangagwa and his entourage were alighting from the stage soon after addressing the campaign rally.

At least 49 people were injured, including both of Zimbabwe's vice presidents, but Mr Mnangagwa was unscathed.

The country's two vice presidents were among the injured, the state-run newspaper The Herald reported.

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Critics say it will further erode democracy in the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation member state and entrench one-man rule. If no presidential candidate wins more than 50 percent of the vote, the election moves to a runoff vote in early July.

"I have set down (my) administration with institutions of higher learning, our universities to say we must now focus on producing products from universities and institutions of higher learning to say we must now produce products that fit in the industrialisation concept of this country", said President Mnangagwa.

Mnangagwa told state broadcaster ZBC, without elaborating, that those responsible must have come from "outside Bulawayo".

Mnangagwa was not injured in the explosion. Health Minister David Parirenyatwa said some of the injured had serious stomach wounds.

President Cyril Rampahosa condemned the attack on Mnangagwa and said regional bloc Southern African Development Community would "evaluate the incident and take appropriate steps".

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Police say an investigation continues.

State media have called Saturday's blast in Bulawayo, an opposition stronghold, an assassination attempt.

Twenty-three candidates have registered to contest the election and Mnangagwa has promised a free and fair vote.

Vice President Constantino Chiwenga is telling a rally outside the capital that the blast that went off in a VIP tent seconds after President Emmerson Mnangagwa stepped into it will not stop the historic July 30 election.

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Mnangagwa adopted most of Mugabe's security and bureaucratic system, fearing a complete overhaul, which the military had sought, could cause instability in government and cost him votes.

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