HARARE - Altogether 41 people, including senior politicians, were injured in a bomb blast that rocked White City Stadium in Bulawayo in Zimbabwe on Saturday afternoon afternoon seconds after President Emmerson Mnangagwa left the stage after addressing a Zanu PF election campaign rally.
Among the injured are Vice President Kembo Mohadi, Zanu PF national chairperson Oppah Muchinguri- Kashiri, and Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s wife Mary Chiwenga. Mnangagwa was unhurt in the incident.
Health and Child Care Minister David Parirenyatwa on Saturday night confirmed the figure, but said no deaths had been reported. He said the injured were being treated at Mpilo Central, United Bulawayo (UBH), and Mater Dei hospitals.
“We have 25 people at Mpilo, 12 at Mater Dei, and four at UBH giving us a total of 41 who have so far approached our health institutions complaining of injuries. Some had, however, previously gone home and later discovered that they wanted to be assisted and are coming in. We will therefore have a consolidated figure tomorrow [Sunday], but so far that is the figure we have. We have no fatalities so far,” Parirenyatwa said.
Parirenyatwa said some of the people required "serious surgery" while some sustained minor injuries. “Some require serious surgery and I think these are the ones who were close to where the blast occurred but some are not serious. Some can be treated and discharged.” Mnangagwa had visited the injured at hospitals on Saturday evening.
Meanwhile, officer commanding police in Bulawayo Province Senior Assistant Commissioner Learn Ncube said they had already launched investigations into the blast and urged people to heed the president’s calls for peace. "We will leave no stone unturned and we urge members of the public to come forth and assist us in our investigations,” he said.
Mnangagwa condemned the blast, saying it was a “cowardly act”. “This afternoon [Saturday], as we were leaving a wonderful rally in Bulawayo, there was an explosion on the stage,” he said in a statement on his Facebook page. “Several people were affected by the blast, and I have already been to visit them in hospital.
“While we await further information, my thoughts and prayers are with all those affected by this senseless act of violence. The [election] campaign so far has been conducted in a free and peaceful environment, and we will not allow this cowardly act to get in our way as we move towards elections.
“Let us continue to be united and address our differences peacefully. The strongest response to violence is peace. The strongest response to hate is love,” Mnangagwa said.
African News Agency (ANA)