Zimbabwean leader vows peaceful polls despite rally blast

2018-06-26 18:26
Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa.  (Markus Schreiber, AP)

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa. (Markus Schreiber, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Tuesday vowed that elections next month would take place peacefully, defying the unexplained weekend blast that narrowly missed him but killed two bodyguards.

The president, 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".

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

Both vice presidents were slightly injured in the blast, as were several other top officials in the ruling Zanu-PF party.

Mnangagwa had just descended from the podium after addressing supporters at the White City stadium in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe's second largest city.

It is not known who carried out the attack, and there has been no claim of responsibility.

"Those merchants of terror must never be allowed to succeed, let alone stop the march of democracy, economic recovery and national progress which our people deserve," he said in a statement.

The first parliamentary and presidential polls of the post-Mugabe era are scheduled to take place on July 30.

Mnangagwa said the government was taking "comprehensive" security measures ahead of the polls, in which 23 candidates are contesting the presidency.

It is the largest field of presidential hopefuls in Zimbabwean history.

National politics were dominated by Robert Mugabe until he resigned last November following a brief military takeover after 37 years in charge.

Seventeen presidential candidates inked a peace pledge ahead of the vote while the leading candidates, Mnangagwa and the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change's leader Nelson Chamisa, sent representatives to the signing.

"Peaceful elections are a key ingredient for long-term peace and development in the country," said Selo Nare, chairman of the country's national peace and reconciliation commission which organised Tuesday's ceremony.

"The signing of the peace pledge is a demonstration of the political parties' commitment to enforcing the code of conduct which is now law."

Philippe Van Damme, the ambassador of the European Union (EU), which is deploying election observers to Zimbabwe for the first time in 16 years, welcomed the signing.

"We now have a powerful tool at hand to monitor electoral behaviour," he said in a statement.

* Sign up to News24's top Africa news in your inbox: SUBSCRIBE TO THE HELLO AFRICA NEWSLETTER

FOLLOW News24 Africa on Twitter and Facebook

Read more on:    zanu-pf  |  emmerson mnangagwa  |  robert mugabe  |  zimbabwe  |  southern africa  |  zimbabwe 2018 elections

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.


Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.


Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.