'Anger' as Zim leader fails to turn up for scheduled rally days after bomb blast – report

2018-06-28 11:07
President Emmerson Mnangagwa (File: AFP)

President Emmerson Mnangagwa (File: AFP)

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Zimbabwean Zanu-PF party supporters in Hwange have reportedly expressed anger after President Emmerson Mnangagwa backed out of his first campaign rally since Saturday's deadly attack.

AP reported on Wednesday that an official announced to a packed stadium in Hwange that Mnangagwa was no longer attending the rally, without giving details.

The stadium was under tight security, with soldiers and police searching everyone who entered. Unlike at previous rallies, supporters were not allowed close to the VIP tent.

This was after an unexplained weekend blast that narrowly missed the president but killed two bodyguards.

Mnangagwa, who has claimed he was the target of the attack, said the blast was "calculated to achieve a bloodbath" and "destabilise the ongoing electoral programme", an AFP report said.

Footage of Saturday's incident, which medical officials injured 49, showed a device exploding and smoke engulfing Mnangagwa.

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Following the incident, Mnangagwa had been scheduled to attend a campaign rally in Hwange, but he failed to turn up.

According to New Zimbabwe.com, Zanu-PF supporters from as far as Victoria Falls, Jambezi, Kamativi, Dete, Lupote and other areas in Hwange district had thronged Hwange Colliery Stadium.

"He (Mnangagwa) should, at least, have come even briefly just to greet us. We would have appreciated that because all we wanted was to see him," New Zimbabwe.com quoted one of the Zanu-PF supporters as saying.

But speaking to the state-owned Herald newspaper, Mnangagwa’s spokesperson George Charamba denied that Mnangagwa had been scheduled to address a rally in Hwange.

"The president was never slotted to address a rally in Hwange. He went in to simply ground break for Hwange 7 and 8 and then rush back to Harare to meet with two trade delegations that are in the country and, of course, to prepare for tomorrow’s (today) fixture," Charamba was quoted as saying.

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