Published: Thu, June 28, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Zimbabwe: Vote will go ahead despite rally attack

Zimbabwe: Vote will go ahead despite rally attack

ZANU-PF chairwoman and cabinet minister Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri and Mary Chiwenga, the wife of vice president Chiwenga, were also among those injured, he said, as was deputy parliament speaker Mabel Chinomona. On Saturday night, he urged Zimbabweans to be united and address our differences peacefully.

Mnangagwa later pointed out he'd had numerous attempts on his life in the past, saying he was used to them by now.

State media also reported that the ZANU-PF party secretary in charge of political organisation, Engelbert Rugeje, was injured, as were several security personnel.

Mnangagwa told state broadcaster ZBC, without elaborating, that those responsible must have come from "outside Bulawayo". In a travel warning, it said "the security situation could deteriorate quickly".

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 blames the incident on forces bent on derailing progress being made by his administration since he assumed power following the resignation of former president Robert Mugabe last November.

The vote will be a key test for Mnangagwa, 75, who succeeded the 94-year-old autocrat and remains untested at the ballot box.

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

Chipo Dendere, a Zimbabwean professor of political science at Amherst College in the U.S., said the incident would change the tone of the election campaign.

In neighbouring South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa condemned the "barbaric and cowardly" attack. Images broadcast on Zimbabwean TV showed scenes of chaos and medics fighting to save those wounded by the blast at the White City stadium in the country's second city Bulawayo.

"Political violence of any nature from any quarter is totally unacceptable".

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