Opposition leaders in Zimbabwe fear the bombing of a ruling party election rally on Saturday will serve as a pretext for a wide-ranging crackdown by the government or the military in the southern African state. The attack at the White City stadium in Bulawayo apparently targeted the president, Emmerson Mnangagwa. At least 49 people, including both of Zimbabwe’s vice presidents, were injured by the explosion that occurred close to the VIP podium immediately after Mnangagwa finished his speech. Mnangagwa later called for peace, love and unity in Zimbabwe and pledged that the attack would not derail what has been a largely peaceful election campaign so far.
The upcoming election is the latest turning point in the most tumultuous few months in almost four decades of Zimbabwe’s political history. In November, Robert Mugabe was forced out of power after 37 years, following a peaceful military takeover supported by the vast majority of the 17 million population.
The poll on 30 July pits Zanu-PF, the ruling party, against the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC), the longstanding opposition.