Zimbabwe says VP in South Africa to treat blast injuries

Zimbabwean Vice President Constantino Chiwenga is in South Africa receiving treatment for injuries sustained during a blast at a ruling party rally in June, state media reported Monday.

A grenade blast at an election rally in the second city Bulawayo killed two people and narrowly missed President Emmerson Mnangagwa while leaving Chiwenga with apparently superficial injuries.

“Chiwenga is recovering well at a South African hospital where he is receiving some thorough medical attention on the effects of the Bulawayo bombing incident in June, government has said,” the state-run Herald daily reported online.

Chiwenga, 61, was the military general who led the ousting of veteran leader Robert Mugabe in November when the army briefly took control and ushered Mnangagwa to the presidency.

Police and security agencies have released few details about the investigation into the June 23 blast that injured 50 rally attendees.

“A decision was then taken that now that elections are behind us, and also that the new government has been constituted, the general should now go for a thorough medical examination,” presidential spokesman George Charamba told the Herald.

“The VP is very well and when I chatted with him he ended up barking orders to me.”

Mnangagwa has accused aggrieved supporters of Mugabe’s wife Grace of being behind the attack.

The rest of the electoral campaign and voting on July 30 passed without major incident but there was bloodshed on the streets of Harare on August 1 when opposition protesters were fired on by security forces.

Chiwenga, who has not been seen publicly for more than a week prompting speculation about his health, flew to South Africa on Tuesday, the Herald reported.

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