President Emmerson Mnangagwa gives a speech at the ZANU-PF rally at the White City Stadium in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe Saturday. Shortly after his speech ended, there was an explosion. CLAIRE HARBAGE | NPR

Zimbabwe’s President Emmerson Mnangagwa says elections will go ahead as planned on 30 July, despite what he said was an attempt on his life on Saturday.

Forty-one people were injured in the blast at a rally in the city of Bulawayo, which occurred close to Mr Mnangagwa as he was leaving the stage.

Officials said security arrangements would be reviewed.

The vote is the first since Robert Mugabe was ousted and Mr Mnangagwa has vowed they will be peaceful.

Mr Mnangagwa said Saturday’s explosion happened when an object “exploded a few inches away from me – but it is not my time”.

He said the violence was senseless and appealed for unity.

Opposition leader Nelson Chamisa also condemned the attack, saying any political violence was “totally unacceptable”.

Those hurt included two vice-presidents, the Zanu-PF party chairwoman, members of a state TV crew and security personnel.

The president was in Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second city and an opposition stronghold, to campaign for his Zanu-PF party ahead of the July election.

He is favourite to win the poll, but analysts say he also has enemies – both for overthrowing his former mentor, Robert Mugabe, and for being a previous enforcer of the Mugabe regime.

The elections are the first in Zimbabwe since Mr Mugabe was forced out after 37 years in power, and the first to be monitored by international observers since 2002.

Mr Mnangagwa has said the vote will be free and fair.

Campaigning has been dominated by economic issues.

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