Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa Escapes Explosion in Political Rally

Geneva Stokes
June 28, 2018

Zimbabwe's presidential candidates are not normally provided with security by the government. Kembo Mohadi suffered leg injuries, and Constantino Chiwenga had slight facial bruises, state media said.

Zimbabwean authorities said Saturday's explosion in the southern city of Bulawayo was an assassination attempt against President Mnangagwa.

Other injured officials include Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, minister of water, environment and climate, and Engelbert Rugeje, party secretary of the ruling ZANU-PF. The broadcaster also showed footage of a jovial Mnangagwa walking around the state house gardens in Bulawayo.

Presidential and parliamentary elections in Zimbabwe are scheduled for July 30, the first since longtime leader Robert Mugabe stepped down in November under military pressure.

Mnangagwa, who has survived numerous attempts on his life, has described the blast as a "senseless act of violence and cowardice". "It does not deter anyone", he said, adding that no political rallies would be cancelled and urging fellow politicians to "continue to campaign peacefully".

Several security personnel were also hurt, the state-owned Herald newspaper said.

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"All vice chancellors of our universities and captains of industry have come together to say those captains of industry what type of skills do they want for the economy to go forward, what universities should do in terms of their curriculum to produce products who can fit in modern Zimbabwe the Zimbabwe we want, Zimbabwe of tomorrow".

Mnangagwa has pledged "peaceful, free, fair and credible elections" and called for peace and unity after the attack.

Elections in Zimbabwe have been marred in the past by violence and charges of electoral fraud.

"This is going to make everyone a little bit tense. this is the first time we have seen such a blatant attack", she said blaming divisions inside the ruling ZANU-PF for the attack.

The main competition will be between Mnangagwa and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change's leader, 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa.

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