Zimbabwe to go ahead with polls despite blast

28 June, 2018, 14:57 | Author: Donnie King
  • Explosion rocks stadium where Zimbabwe's president was speaking

Two people have died of their injuries after an explosion at a Zimbabwe presidential campaign rally.

"Let me make it very clear that nothing will stop the elections in Zimbabwe, nothing at all", Vice President Constantino Chiwenga, who was lightly bruised in Saturday's blast, told a rally outside the capital, Harare.

"That act of terrorism in Bulawayo is nothing".

Footage circulating on social media showed an explosion and plumes of smoke around the president as he descended stairs from the podium at the city's White City stadium. Mugabe has said he felt betrayed by Mnangagwa, a former protege, and has called his presidency illegal.

"As a long standing friend of Zimbabwe, Kenya sends its message of goodwill to President Emerson Mnangagwa and the people of the Republic of Zimbabwe, and urges restraint during the campaign and electioneering period because political competition should not fracture Zimbabweans but should be a measure to deepen their democratic credentials", the President notes.

It is not known who carried out the attack, and there has been no claim of responsibility.

While Bulawayo has always been a bastion of opposition to the ZANU-PF and it was Mnangagwa's first rally in the city, commentators suggest the attack could have been instigated by internal ructions within the ruling party. He was unscathed and later pointed out he'd had numerous attempts on his life in the past. "Six times my office has been broken into; cyanide was put in my offices so many times".




The president has vowed to hold a free and fair election, the first since longtime leader Robert Mugabe stepped down in November under military pressure.

"Some people are trying to kill our dream. We are not used to this kind of violence". He added: "I can assure you these are my normal enemies".

"We as a people must unite". Unlike the past elections that were marked by killings, internal displacements, destruction of property and systematic intimidation of mainly opposition activists, this time around the country's politics had taken a somewhat mature route - allowing for all political actors to freely solicit for votes even in the so-called "no-go areas" without fear.

He has pledged to hold free and fair elections as he seeks to mend global relations and have sanctions against Zimbabwe dropped.

"Mnangagwa's measured response to the attack has been perceived as being statesmanlike", said Chatham House's Knox Chitiyo. Mnangagwa and all members of his administration should use the incident to demonstrate to the world that Zimbabwe has indeed turned the corner and now committed to flushing out societal malcontents without shedding blood.

He said the attack was aimed at sowing "mayhem and turmoil" and described it as an "assault against democracy". "We must not speculate ahead of investigations", Charamba said.

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