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Chamisa fears Byo blast may be used as excuse to clampdown on opponents

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UK Correspondent

MDC ALLIANCE presidential candidate Nelson Chamisa says he fears government may use last weekend’s bomb blast as an excuse to clamp down on the opposition ahead of the election.

President Emmerson Mnangagwa Emmerson has already claimed that the blast which went off as soon as he had left the podium after a rally in Bulawayo was meant to achieve a “blood bath” and delay elections. Mnangagwa has also claimed that he was the target and blamed former president Robert Mugabe’s wife’s faction called Generation 40.

Speaking to a Reuters news agency, Chamisa said: “We know that they would also want to use that as a pretext to clamp down on the opposition, they would want to use it to start targeting certain individuals, certain candidates that they perceive to be their credible opposition.”

This was despite the fact Zanu PF, through spokesperson Simon Khaya Moyo, denied plans to clampdown on the opponents.

According to the report, Chamisa said despite the fear was “confident he would form the next government, which would include ZANU-PF elements.”

He, however, “complained the electoral field was tilted in Mnangagwa’s favour” saying he was worried about “ghost voters” on the poll register and was also concerned over which firm would be granted the contract to print the ballots.”

Speaking to reporters in SA on Thursday, Civil Society leaders from Zimbabwe said the elections back home were going to take place in an “environment where the security of citizens is still a major issue,” News 24 reported.

“There is a huge risk that we may not have a credible free and fair election in Zimbabwe on July 30,” Human Rights Watch’s Dewa Mavhinga said.

He said although Mnangagwa has made several assurances and pledged to deliver a fair and credible election, there were still major concerns ahead of the elections.

“He [Mnanganwa] is talking the right things [but] it is not clear whether he is walking the talk. The challenge which we have put to his administration is to deliver in terms of concrete steps to deliver credible and fair elections,” he said.

Mavhinga also said the attack at the weekend rally was concerning because “civilians do not have grenades under their pillows in their home, grenades are associated with the military and this is a challenge that perhaps this election could be very tense, and it might result in widespread violence.”