The main stage after a suspected bomb went off at a rally addressed by Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa, at White City Stadium in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe, on Saturday. The incident left many people injured. ‘The president was evacuated successfully,’ his spokesperson said. Mnangagwa called for Zimbabweans to remain united.Picture: EPA
Durban - Zimbabweans living in Durban are on edge after an assassination attempt on their president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, at the weekend. The euphoria which followed the resignation of president Robert Mugabe last year seems to be dwindling as their first post-Mugabe election looms.

Durban has a large Zimbabwean community, and many Zimbabweans were eager to return home and rebuild the country after Mnangagwa came to power.

However, Saturday’s bomb blast - barely 10 seconds after he left the stage at a rally in Bulawayo - has left many rattled.

Under Mugabe’s rule elections in Zimbabwe were characterised by violence. Many Zimbabweans believe Saturday’s explosion was an assassination attempt on Mnangagwa.

Tapiwa Munjoma, a Durban-based Zimbabwean political analyst, said he hoped this would not be the start of a violent election season.

“Everyone is a suspect at the moment. Security details could have been compromised. There’s now a need for the Office of the President to reconsider who surrounds him,” he said.

The incident would not have much of an impact on Zimbabweans living overseas as they had established themselves in those respective countries.

Paul Soti said he was shocked by what had happened. He said this could create fear in some Zimbabweans who wanted to go back to their country, especially those who left for political reasons. “It is a cause for concern,” he said.

The bomb blast could change the dynamics of the build-up to the elections, said Soti.

The 47-year-old father of two said every refugee was looking forward to a day when they could go home, but the political atmosphere had changed.

“We hope that the situation will be contained,” he said.

Murisa Mugoe said this was the first time that anything like this had happened in Zimbabwe.

“Even during colonial times a sitting president had never been attacked directly,” he said.

Mugoe, 36, said the bomb blast could have a negative impact on the upcoming elections. Until the weekend, campaigning by political parties had been open, which was not the case during the Mugabe era. He hoped that peace would prevail.

In a statement, Mnangagwa said there were people who did not want an open and “thriving” Zimbabwe.

“Some people are trying to kill our dream.

“While we have all chosen the path of peace, others unfortunately still cling to the tools of violence.”

He called for unity of the country and said Zimbabweans would prevail.

Mnangagwa told the Zimbabwean Broadcasting Corporation that this was not the first attack on his life and that there had been previous attempts to poison him.

President Cyril Ramaphosa has condemned the attack. He said the Southern African Development Community would evaluate the incident and take the appropriate steps.

Daily News