Saturday, June 23, 2018

Mnangagwa Visits Explosion Victims, Asks Zimbabweans to 'Remain United'
Africa News

Zimbabwe’s president has visited victims of the explosion that rocked a rally he had just addressed in Bulawayo, the second largest city of the country.

The president, who survived what is thought to have been an assassination attempt on his life has urged the country to ‘remain calm and address our differences peacefully’.

‘‘While we await further information, my thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this senseless act of violence,’‘ the president said in a tweet after confirming that he had visited some of the victims in the hospital.

Mnangagwa was speaking at his first rally in Bulawayo, an opposition stronghold where the ruling ZANU-PF has not won in national elections since 2000.

Mnangagwa said last August, when he was still vice president, that he had been poisoned at a rally outside Bulawayo and spent weeks receiving medical treatment in neighbouring South Africa.

In an interview conducted after Saturday’s explosion, Mnangagwa however insisted that he does not believe the people of Bulawayo are behind the attack, ‘they love him as much as he loves them’.

Zimbabwe holds its presidential election on July 30, with 75-year-old Mnangagwa and 40-year-old Nelson Chamisa, the leader of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change, the main contenders.

The vote next month is the first since Robert Mugabe’s downfall after a de facto military coup last November.

Unlike previous elections which were marred by violence, mostly against opposition members by ZANU-PF supporters, the run up to this year’s vote has been relatively peaceful.

Mnangagwa has promised a free and fair vote and if it is endorsed by international observers who are in the country for the first time since 2000, it could help Zimbabwe secure funding from international institutions for the first time in two decades.

Zimbabwe last had blasts at rallies in the 1980s, which had targeted Mugabe.

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