Smoke fills the stage following an explosion at a Zanu pf rally in Bulawayo, Saturday, June, 23, 2018. An explosion rocked a stadium where Zimbabwe’s president was addressing a campaign rally on Saturday, with state media calling it an assassination attempt but saying he was not hurt and was evacuated from the scene. Witnesses said several people were injured, including a vice president. (Associated Press)
Associated Press

The UN Secretary-General, Antonio Guterres, has condemned explosions at political rallies in Zimbabwe and Ethiopia.

An explosion, which took place at an election rally in Zimbabwe on Saturday, not long after President Emmerson Mnangagwa left the stage after addressing the crowd, injured dozens, including senior politicians.

Mnangagwa, who also leads the ruling party, Zanu-PF, reportedly described the bombing in Bulawayo as an attempt on his life and appealed for peace and national unity ahead of elections due to take place on 30 July.

Mnangagwa took over the Presidency in November 2017, following the resignation of Robert Mugabe, who ruled Zimbabwe for 37 years

He vowed that the explosion would not derail the election.

The country’s main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa of the Movement for Democratic Change, also condemned the attack, saying that any political violence was “totally unacceptable”.

In a statement released by his Spokesperson on Sunday, the UN chief said he was “disturbed” by news of the attack.

The Secretary-General condemns such acts of violence and called for the perpetrators to be brought to justice while wishing the injured a quick recovery.

Two of the country’s Vice Presidents were among the more than 40 reportedly hurt by the blast, as well as the Zanu-PF chairperson, together with members of a television crew from the state broadcasting network, and security personnel.

Guterres also expressed “grave concern” following an explosion at a large political rally for reform-minded Ethiopian Prime Minister, Abiy Ahmed.

One person reportedly died and dozens injured after an explosion ripped through a large crowd at the rally for the new Prime Minister on Saturday.

The UN chief described the incident as a matter of “grave concern”.

Guterres condemned the act of violence, which the Prime Minister described as “an unsuccessful attempt by forces who do not want to see Ethiopia united”.

Earlier this week, the UN chief welcomed the “positive steps” taken by Ahmed to accept and implement a stalled 2002 peace agreement with neighbouring Eritrea.

The peace agreement aims to end decades of conflict and tension between the two Horn of Africa countries.

The Ethiopian leader was reportedly escorted from the major political rally in the capital, Addis Ababa, shortly after the blast, which resulted from a grenade being thrown into the crowd.

Abiy became Prime Minister, following the resignation of his predecessor in February, and is the first leader to hail from the majority Oromo ethnic group.

Oromo has been at the centre of anti-government protests for the past three years.

A statement from the Spokesperson of the Secretary-General said that “he conveys his condolences to the families of the victims and wishes a speedy recovery to those injured’’.

The UN chief expressed his solidarity with the Government and People of Ethiopia.

The Ethiopian Prime Minister has implemented a large number of political reforms since taking office and previously served in government as minister for science and technology.

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