Mugabe wants Zanu-PF to back election next year

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe hopes his party will back a call for an election next year at its annual conference in the eastern city of Mutare next week. The poll would end the current coalition government with his longtime rival, Morgan Tsvangirai.

But some MPs are threatening to sue for lost income if they lose their seats.

Street lights in Mutare have been repaired for the fist time in years and there’s fresh tarmac on the road.

Tucked away on the border with Mozambique, Marymount Teachers College is the venue for this year’s Zanu-PF conference.

Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces have been ordered to raise a total of 1.5 million dollars (1.1 million euros) to cover wining and dining expenses for the delegates.

But there’s no such thing as a free lunch.

Mugabe is expecting to get the 4,000 delegates to back his call for an election next year, although it does not have widespread support.

Mugabe may say he is tired of the coalition deal but many MPs aren’t interested in running for election again before their terms expire in 2013.

They’ve threatened to sue the government for two years of lost income.

Across Zimbabwe , there are fears that violence will mar the run-up to the election, to be held as early as next May.

Surprisingly, Mugabe’s vice-president Joice Mujuru this week admitted that in the past violence has been perpetrated in the party’s name.

She claims Mugabe does not condone violence – and that he, along with other officials, wants Zanu-PF to have a human face.