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Mugabe confident his party can win election

Zimbabwe's long-time ruler expressed confidence yesterday 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 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 51pc ownership to black Zimbabweans.

Irish Independent