Mugabe ready to 'bury Western-backed opposition' party
Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe's president, has said his party is ready to bury his Western-backed opposition "forever".
Speaking to thousands of delegates at the annual conference of his Zanu-PF party in the eastern city of Mutare, the 86-year-old president said he wanted to see general and presidential elections in June next year.
Morgan Tsvangirai, the prime minister, who is Mr Mugabe's partner in a fractious coalition, insists he will not go to the polls until at least 2012 and only then for presidential elections.
Mr Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change party claims that Zanu-PF is stepping up its intimidation of voters in rural areas -- where the opposition is strongest.
Mr Mugabe told delegates that he and Zanu PF were still fit for power.
"We are indeed a fired up, fuelled and fast-moving train," he said. "Those who stand in the way of that train stand the risk of being crushed."
The party's chairman, Simon Moyo, told its members to prepare for elections in 2011. "We must bury forever this combined British and American non-governmental organisation," he said.
The latest disagreement came as a WikiLeaks release claimed that in 2000, Kofi Annan, the then United Nations secretary general, offered Mr Mugabe a lucrative retirement package in an overseas haven if he stood down as Zimbabwe's president.
Mr Mugabe reportedly turned down the offer. (© Daily Telegraph, London)