AL JAZEERA

Robert Mugabe, Zimbabwe’s president, has called for elections next year to end a fragile coalition with the former opposition.

In an address to his ZANU-PF party’s annual convention in the city of Bulawayo on Thursday, 87-year-old Mugabe said he was confident his party would win the proposed polls.

“We’re saying time has come now to prepare for elections. We just have to have elections next year,” he said in a speech that lasted more than two hours. “Let’s go to an election so people can choose a government of their liking.”

Mugabe also used his address to denounce the so-called Arab Spring protests as a “Western intrusion on the African continent” and said he hoped early elections would ward off his co-ruling party’s western backers.

Al Jazeera’s Haru Mutasa, reporting from the conference, said Mugabe played to the crowd with emotive language by  making a connection between the western-aided revolution that swept through Egypt, Libya and Tunisia and his own domestic concerns.  Read more…