Harare – Zimbabwe's president Robert Mugabe has accused Western countries of seeking to overthrow his government through violent protests that have rocked his country over the past weeks.
Zimbabwe has seen a mounting tide of demonstrations in recent weeks, with protesters calling for the resignation of the veteran leader.
Mugabe, 92, has been in power since 1980 when the country won independence.
Police have often used tear gas, water cannons and open violence to crash the protests.
According to New Zimbabwe, Mugabe said the country’s opposition was using funds from the West to destabilise the country.
"They want to make the country ungovernable. They want to push their undemocratic agenda to remove a constitutionally elected government.
"They want elections now but what’s wrong with 2018 when they are due?
"Even if they were to be held now, would they win?" Mugabe was quoted as saying.
Mugabe also claimed that there was a broad opposition agenda funded by the West to destabilise southern Africa, a report by The Standard said.
"Their masters are providing huge sums of cash to provoke conflict and instability in the region.
"Their aim is to replace liberation movements with pliant puppet regimes that pander to their needs because they have realised our people-oriented policies are a threat to their economic interests," he was quoted as saying.
The nonagenarian said this while addressing the Zanu-PF Youth National Assembly at the party's headquarters in Harare on Saturday, soon after arriving from a private visit in Dubai.