The four-day conference in Bulawayo is expected to rubber stamp Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's incumbent president, as a candidate for 2012. The annual Zanu-PF conference kicked off on Thursday.

Zimbabwe's economy and the proposal of putting a 51 per cent controlling stake in foreign enterprises in the hands of Zimbabwean blacks is also on the agenda. But Mugabe has ruled Zimbabwe for 31 years now, much of it with an iron fist.

At 87 years old and with ailing health, is it time for him to step down? And what does the future hold for the uneasy power-sharing alliance between Mugabe's Zanu-PF and the Movement for Democratic Change led by Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister?

Inside Story, with presenter Hazem Sika, discusses with guests: Matlotleng Matlou, the director of the Africa Institute of South Africa; Heidi Holland, a journalist and author of "Dining with Mugabe"; and Alexander Kanengoni, an author, broadcaster and political analyst.

"(Mugabe) is a very narcissistic individual. Everything is about himself. The fact that he is the president of Zimbabwe is hugely important to him. He doesn't want to be a pensioner or a retiree. And he's not mad, as many people think he is. But he's completely absorbed in himself."

Heidi Holland, journalist/author

 

Source: Al Jazeera