HARARE — The chairperson of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) has expressed confidence that the upcoming July elections would be free, fair, transparent and credible.
Justice Priscilla Chigumba says she has been engaging political party representatives and other stakeholders to address their concerns before the elections.
The chairperson’s remarks came days after President Emerson Mnangagwa narrowly escaped injury in an explosion at a campaign rally, Saturday. The president and top leaders of the ruling ZANU-PF party, were campaigning in the run up to the polls.
The blast happened seconds after Mnangagwa finished addressing the stadium crowd in Bulawayo, an opposition stronghold.
The president said there have been many attempts on his life that he is used to them. Local media called the attack an assassination attempt.
Electoral commission chairperson Chigumba told VOA’s Peter Clottey that the printing of the ballot papers to be used for the elections would begin this week.
The polls are expected to proceed as originally scheduled despite the explosion over the weekend.
So far 49 people were injured in the blast, including one of the vice presidents, Kembo Mohadi. Meanwhile, two unidentified people have reportedly died from injuries sustained after the blast.
Health Minister David Parirenyatwa told the state-controlled Herald newspaper that one of the injured people died at Mpilo Central Hospital on Sunday night, while the second one succumbed to his injuries Monday afternoon.
Parirenyatwa said the names of the victims were still being withheld until their next of kin have been informed.
He said another victim, with life threatening injuries, was still being attended to at Mpilo Central Hospital by specialist medical doctors.
“Pursuant to what we said at the weekend that we had 16 victims that were admitted at Mpilo Central Hospital and that three of them were critical, of the three, one had exposed bowels and right leg blown off. We lost him last (Sunday) evening around 9pm. Today (yesterday) around 12 noon we lost another one with abdominal penetration injuries.
“We have a third one who is still critical and in the Intensive Care Unit. He sustained head injuries and is being attended to by neurosurgeons. They are trying their best to attend to him and we remain optimistic that he will recover.”
Police have offered a “substantial” reward for anyone who will offer information about the explosion, which occurred when Mnangagwa was leaving the podium. The President was unhurt in the incident.
Some of the people who suffered injuries also include Zanu-PF chairperson Oppah Muchinguri-Kashiri, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga’s wife Mrs. Mary Chiwenga, the ruling party’s national political commissar Retired Lieutenant-General Engelbrecht Rugeje and Zanu-PF Women’s League secretary Mabel Chinomona. – VOA