Zimbabwe blast rocks stadium in apparent assassination attempt on President

Explosion rocks stadium where Zimbabwe's president was speaking

Authorities gave no details of what had caused the explosion at Mnangagwa's first rally in Bulawayo, an opposition stronghold where the ruling ZANU-PF has not won in national elections since 2000.

Chipo Dendere, a Zimbabwean professor of political science at Amherst College in the United States, said the incident would change the tone of the election campaign.

Mr. Mnangagwa said he was the target of the attack, which also injured Vice-Presidents Kembo Mohadi and Constantino Chiwenga, and which the state media is describing as an assassination attempt.

Mnangagwa has vowed a credible election, the first since longtime leader Robert Mugabe stepped down in November under military pressure.

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"I have set down (my) administration with institutions of higher learning, our universities to say we must now focus on producing products from universities and institutions of higher learning to say we must now produce products that fit in the industrialisation concept of this country", said President Mnangagwa. The broadcaster also showed footage of a jovial Mnangagwa walking around the state house gardens in Bulawayo. "It does not deter anyone", he said, adding that no political rallies would be cancelled and urging fellow politicians to "continue to campaign peacefully".

Mnangagwa, who was rushed away from the scene of the explosion, later visited the injured in hospital. Health Minister David Parirenyatwa said some of the injured had serious stomach wounds. Mugabe has said he felt betrayed by Mnangagwa, a former protege, and has called his presidency illegal. "In the past 38 years political violence has been a permanent feature and an anticipated ritual ... which we must expunge", Chamisa said. "Violence must have no place in our politics".

She said comprehensive investigations are underway on the blast which occurred shortly after Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa had finished addressing the rally.

Cricket Australia says it is closely monitoring the security situation in Zimbabwe after a bomb blast at an election rally but Australia's tour there next month will proceed at this stage.

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