Mashudu Netsianda, Senior Reporter
An eerie mood hung over Mpilo Central Hospital wards in Bulawayo where victims of the bomb explosion that rocked White City Stadium on Saturday lay helplessly on their beds.
The expressions on their faces depict the nerve-wracking experience they suffered.
The victims who spoke to The Chronicle yesterday narrated harrowing experiences and scary tales of how they survived the bomb explosion that rocked White City Stadium on Saturday soon after President Emmerson Mnangagwa addressed a Zanu-PF campaign rally.
Mr Cuthbert Makondo (39), Vice-President Kembo Mohadi’s aide, is one of the 49 people injured in the blast.
He gave a frightening picture of how he survived the attack while escorting his boss off the stage.
“My attention was on escorting VP (Kembo) Mohadi off the stage soon after the President’s address. I then heard a deafening sound and the next thing, I was on the ground bleeding profusely. I tried in vain to stop the bleeding,” he said.
Mr Makondo said he forced himself up despite the excruciating pain and staggered towards a waiting ambulance while clutching his wounded shoulder.
“I lumbered through and got to where there was an ambulance and the emergency guys came in and assisted me into the vehicle,” he said.
Mr Makondo sustained a fracture on his right shoulder and deep wound.
Ms Chipo Five, a Zimbabwe Broadcasting Corporation (ZBC) cameraperson said she was busy capturing the events at the rally when she heard the explosion.
“Suddenly I found myself on the ground. I tried to stand up. That is when I realised that I could not breathe properly. I gasped for air. I struggled to breathe and on arrival at the hospital I was taken to a room where I was put on oxygen. I am feeling better now,” she said
President Mnangagwa’s aide, Mr Austin Jimu said before the explosion he heard a sound but could not tell where it came from.
Mpilo Central Hospital clinical director, Dr Solwayo Ngwenya said out of the 29 casualties they received, four of them were in a critical condition.
“We received a total of 29 victims of the White City incident of which 16 were admitted to the hospital and some of them were very critical and they still remain critical. One person had to undergo an extensive surgery and it took us several hours to save his life,” he said.
Dr Ngwenya said of the four people who underwent emergency surgery on Saturday night, three of them were critical and were in the Intensive Care Unit.(ICU)
He said some of the victims complained of smoke inhalation while others had life threatening injuries.
“The others are recuperating in the general wards and there is still a lot of work to be done, some of them sustained serious injuries on their limbs and they will require surgical operations. I would like to wish the victims a speedy recovery and we will continue to do our best,” he said.
Zanu-PF Bulawayo provincial secretary for finance, Cde Mlungisi Moyo said the party was footing the victims’ medical bills.
“We visited our comrades at the hospitals where they are admitted to check their conditions and most of them are in a stable condition. As the finance department we are paying the medical bills since the incident happened in our province. We have victims who require assistance in the form of drugs and other forms of medication and the party has chipped in,” he said.