Bulawayo — Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s bid to seal his position in a July 30 election is meant to signal a break with Robert Mugabe’s violence-tainted rule. But massacres that took place decades ago are coming back to haunt him. Mnangagwa, a longtime Mugabe lieutenant who took over after a coup in 2017, narrowly avoided a grenade attack in June, which wounded one of his vice-presidents and a minister at a rally in Bulawayo. He was quick to absolve the locals of any blame, pointing a finger at disgruntled Mugabe loyalists instead, but the location was significant: rights groups say army offensives in the area in the 1980s killed 20,000 people and memories remained raw. Mnangagwa was in charge of national security at the time of the 1982-87 assault in Matabeleland, and analysts said the Bulawayo rally blast could have been calculated to implicate Mnangagwa’s Ndebele opponents and stir up trouble. Asked whether Bulawayo people were responsible for the blast, Mnangagwa tol...

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