Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa says he was ‘inches’ from Bulawayo explosion

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa (C) before addressing thousands of supporters who had gathered at White City Stadium in Bulawayo, ZimbabweImage copyright
EPA

Image caption

President Mnangagwa (centre) was campaigning ahead of elections next month

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa has survived an apparent bomb attack at a rally in the city of Bulawayo.

Mr Mnangagwa said an object “exploded a few inches away from me – but it is not my time”.

Video footage from White City Stadium shows an explosion happening close to Mr Mnangagwa as he was leaving the stage having addressed supporters.

While the president was unhurt, state TV reports that Vice-President Kembo Mohadi has suffered a leg injury.

Mr Mnangagwa says he has visited the injured in hospital. He condemned the violence as senseless and pleaded for unity.

Mr Mnangagwa came to power last November, ousting his former mentor Robert Mugabe.

The president was in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city and an opposition stronghold, to campaign for his Zanu-PF party ahead of nationwide elections taking place on 30 July.

“People started running in all directions and then immediately the president’s motorcade left at a very high speed,” an AFP correspondent at the scene reported.

The elections are the first in Zimbabwe since Mr Mugabe was ousted after 37 years in power.

Presidential spokesman George Charamba told the Zimbabwe Herald newspaper that there were eight or nine injured people, most of whom had been attended to and discharged from hospital.

“Vice-President Mohadi is nursing some leg injuries but he is in good spirit,” he was quoted as saying.

Marry Chiwenga, the wife of Zimbabwe’s First Vice-President, Constantino Chiwenga, was also injured and pictures on social media showed the president visiting her in hospital.

Image copyright
EPA

Image caption

Red Cross personnel evacuate an injured army member from the rally

State broadcaster ZBC also reported that Zanu PF national chairman Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, political commissar Engelbert Rugeje and some ZBC crew members were also injured.

The US Embassy in Harare condemned the attack.

More on Zimbabwe:

Who is Emmerson Mnangagwa?

Media captionEmmerson Mnangagwa: Who is the man known as the ‘crocodile’?
  • Known as “the crocodile” because of his political shrewdness – his Zanu-PF faction is “Lacoste”
  • Received military training in China and Egypt
  • Tortured by Rhodesian forces after his “crocodile gang” staged attacks
  • Helped direct Zimbabwe’s war of independence in the 1960s and 1970s
  • Became the country’s spymaster during the 1980s civil conflict, in which thousands of civilians were killed, but has denied any role in the massacres, blaming the army
  • Accused of masterminding attacks on opposition supporters after 2008 election
  • Says he will deliver jobs, and seen as open to economic reforms

The ‘crocodile’ who snapped back

Zimbabwe President Mnangagwa says he was ‘inches’ from Bulawayo explosion

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