Monday, 23 July, 2018

Zimbabwe campaign rally explosion death toll increase

BREAKING Assassination attempt at ED Chiwenga in Byo Explosion rocks stadium where Zimbabwe's president was speaking
Gerardo Duncan | 28 June, 2018, 14:52

"It does not deter anyone", he said, adding that no political rallies would be cancelled and urging fellow politicians to "continue to campaign peacefully".

Cricket Australia says it is closely monitoring the security situation in Zimbabwe after a bomb blast at an election rally but Australia's tour there next month will proceed at this stage. A security officer had to have a leg amputated, presidential spokesman George Charamba said.

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

Mnangagwa said on Saturday he was "used to these attempts" on his life, noting that he had been poisoned at a rally outside Bulawayo last August when still Mugabe's vice president.

Mnangagwa said the explosion occurred just "inches" from him.

"Several people were affected by the blast, and I have already been to visit them in the hospital", Mnangagwa wrote on his verified Facebook account describing the attack as a "senseless act of violence".

"While the majority of the nation is united behind this dream, there are those who feel threatened by the steps we are taking, they do not want the open and progressive Zimbabwe we are thriving for".

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

Mnangagwa added, "However, my fellow Zimbabweans I assure you they will not succeed, we will not turn back; the forces of progress can not be stopped".

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

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

Authorities gave no details of what had caused the explosion at Mnangagwa's first rally in Bulawayo, an opposition stronghold where the ruling ZANU-PF has not won in national elections since 2000.

Mnangagwa even pledged that the attack would not derail what has been a largely peaceful election campaign so far, adding elections would go ahead on July 30 as scheduled.

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