Zimbabwe president party holds crucial convention

AP News
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Posted: Dec 06, 2011 9:51 AM
Zimbabwe president party holds crucial convention

Loyalists of the Zimbabwe president's party are gathering in the nation's west to chart the path toward elections to end the nation's fragile 30-month coalition.

Rugare Gumbo, spokesman for President Robert Mugabe's ZANU PF party, said the five-day convention which launches Wednesday will be a time for "introspection" and preparation for polling next year.

Mugabe, traveling to the second city of Bulawayo for the gathering of some 3,000 delegates has described the coalition brokered by regional leaders as "unconstitutional and illegal," having surpassed its original two-year lifespan.

The coalition followed disputed and violent elections in 2008. Rights groups accuse Mugabe's party, facing its own internal splits, of already starting a campaign of violence and intimidation to sway polling.