Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa has described an attempt on his life at a rally in Bulawayo as an act of cowardice which would not distract him from campaigning for the July 30 elections.
In a message posted on his Facebook page Saturday night, Mnangagwa urged Zimbabweans to remain united and address their political differences peacefully.
“This afternoon, as we were leaving a wonderful rally in Bulawayo, there was an explosion on the stage. Several people were affected by the blast, and I have already been to visit them in the hospital. While we await further information, my thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this senseless act of violence.
“The campaign so far has been conducted in a free and peaceful environment, and we will not allow this cowardly act to get in our way as we move towards elections,” he said.
He urged Zimbabweans to remain united saying that “the strongest response to violence is peace. The strongest response to hate is love”.
Mnangagwa was unhurt and successfully evacuated on Saturday after the explosion just below the podium injured several people as he left the stadium after the rally.
According to the state-broadcaster ZBC, Vice President Kembo Mohadi was reportedly injured on the leg and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
The ruling ZANU-PF national chairperson Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri was also said to have been injured.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba said they now await to hear from the police about the explosion and what could have caused it.
The broadcaster said three of its crew members who were on duty were also injured and had been taken to hospital for treatment.
According to the ZBC report, indications are that the explosive could have been placed under the VVIP stage close to the exit which was used by Mnangagwa and officials seated on the high table.
There have been several attempts on Mnangagwa’s life, with the last incident happening last August when he was poisoned at a ZANU-PF rally in Gwanda, southern Zimbabwe.