Blast at Zimbabwe rally called assassination attempt on President Mnangagwa


A blast at a political rally where Zimbabwe’s President was speaking was an “assassination attempt” the country’s media has said.
Emmerson Mnangagwa was not hurt in the explosion and was evacuated from the stadium, however, witnesses reported several other people were injured, including a vice president.
Mr Mnangagwa had been speaking in Bulawayo ahead of July’s historic election, the first since longtime leader Robert Mugabe stepped down.
The blast occurred as Mnangagwa had just finished addressing the crowd and was leaving the podium.
Footage posted online showed the president waving to the crowd, turning to step off the podium and walking into the open-sided VIP tent, where seconds later the explosion occurred.
People can be seen ducking, screaming and rushing for the exits, as smoke billows at the scene
The speech had been broadcast on television, but the broadcast was immediately ended after the blast.

Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second-largest city, is traditionally an opposition stronghold.
The explosion came just hours after a similar attack in Ethiopia, where a blast killed at least one person and injured scores just after the new Prime Minister addressed a huge rally in the capital.
An investigation into the Bulawayo blast is said to be underway.
Presidential spokesperson George Charamba told local media that there have been “multiple attempts” on Mr Mnangagwa’s life over the years.
In the past, the President has himself openly joked about the attempts, including during his campaigning.
Mr Mnangagwa took power in November after his former ally Mr Mugabe stepped down under military pressure.
That dramatic transfer of power began when Mr Mnangagwa was fired as Mr Mugabe’s deputy and said he had to immediately flee the country for his life.
The July 30 election will be the first without Mr Mugabe in the southern African nation since independence in 1980.
Mr Mnangagwa has pledged to hold a free and fair election, inviting Western observers for the first time in almost two decades.
Past votes have been marked by allegations of violence and fraud.
World leaders have said that a credible vote in the country is key to lifting international sanctions.