Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa survived a suspected assassination attempt during an election campaign rally in Bulawayo city on Saturday. Health Minister David Parirenyatwa said 15 people were injured, and three of them were in a critical condition, reported BBC.
Mnangagwa’s spokesperson said Vice President Kembo Mohadi was injured in his leg while another vice president, Constantino Chiwenga, suffered bruises to his face.
The president was in Bulawayo to campaign for his Zanu-PF party before the July 30 elections. Mnangagwa said an object “exploded a few inches away from me – but it is not my time”. Later, he condemned the attack as “senseless violence” and pleaded for unity, reported The Guardian. “I am used to these attempts,” he said.
Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa also condemned the attack. “Political violence of any nature from any quarter is totally unacceptable,” Chamisa said. “In the past 38 years political violence has been a permanent feature and an anticipated ritual... which we must expunge.”
The July elections will be the first since former President Robert Mugabe resigned in November, following intervention by the Army. Mnangagwa succeeded Mugabe as president. Mnangagwa’s main opponent will be Chamisa. The European Union will send observers to monitor the polls for the first time in 16 years.