Belfast Telegraph

Home News World

Mugabe confident of polls victory

Zimbabwe's long-time ruler has expressed confidence that his party can win proposed elections, saying there was no need for coercive campaigning or political violence because voters support his party's "progressive" economic ideas.

President Robert Mugabe, 87, has called for elections next year to end a fragile 30-month coalition with the former opposition - a partnership he described as an impractical "patch on torn trousers".

In an address to his Zanu PF party's annual convention, Mr Mugabe criticised prime minister Morgan Tsvangirai's party.

He said it was "busy chasing women", a reference to widower Mr Tsvangirai's break-up with a commodity broker who claimed he had made her pregnant.

"We think of our people... we are busy taking care of our country," Mr Mugabe said.

Mr Mugabe's often violent programme to seize thousands of white-owned farms since 2000 disrupted the agriculture-based economy. He has also announced plans to force businesses and mines to hand over a 51% ownership to black Zimbabweans.

He addressed 6,000 delegates in the city of Bulawayo for two and a half hours on Thursday. Mr Mugabe warned Zimbabweans to be alert to attempted Western manipulation of mineral resources in gold, platinum and diamonds.

Speaking in the local Shona language, he also said the late Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi befriended the West who wanted Libya's oil. Western powers then "squashed him in broad daylight".

Dewa Mavhinga, a political analyst with the Crisis in Zimbabwe Coalition, said he feared Mr Mugabe will unilaterally call early elections. He said violence and allegations of vote-rigging plagued three national elections in the past decade and that there still was no "level political playing field".

Deep divisions in Mr Mugabe's party have emerged over the ability of the ailing leader to remain in control and stop infighting.

Daily News Headlines Newsletter

Today's news headlines, directly to your inbox.


From Belfast Telegraph