Zimbabwe’s long-time president says his party is geared up for a “resounding” victory in elections scheduled for next year.
Robert Mugabe, addressing 5,000 loyalists at the end of his party’s annual convention in the city of Gweru, said on Saturday that ZANU-PF will fight like a “wounded animal to reclaim the government we lost”‘ in 2008 elections.
Mugabe, 88, has been nominated as his party’s presidential candidate. He has ruled Zimbabwe since its independence from Britain in 1980.
For the first time since independence, ZANU-PF lost its parliamentary majority to Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s Movement for Democratic Change in violence-marred 2008 polls.
No election date has been set yet, but Mugabe is pressing for polls to go ahead as soon as possible, saying he has had “enough” of the coalition government with Tsvangirai which was brokered by regional leaders to restore stability after the polls.
Mugabe Saturday warned his party’s top officials to avoid any infighting because it is “dangerous” and threatened the party’s unity.
Deep divisions in ZANU-PF have emerged over Mugabe’s likely successor.
The president and his party face an uphill struggle to win over voters, many of whom are disgruntled with the poor state of the economy that has forced millions of Zimbabweans to emigrate to neighbouring countries and abroad.
The economy is battling to pick up pace and Mugabe’s campaign for black empowerment which forces foreign firms to give 51 per cent of their shares to locals, is only driving away desperately needed foreign investment.