Harare - Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has told his potential successors that he is not dying, adding that he will only leave office when people vote him out, reports the state-owned Chronicle newspaper.
Addressing at least 10 000 war veterans at the Harare City Sport Centre, Mugabe, 92, said that "power hungry" individuals within the ruling Zanu-PF party were wishing him to be dead so that they could take over.
"You then see a stampede now; they will be saying the president is dying. I am not dying, shame on you. I am there at the mercy of the people. If the people say 'no, go', I go. But if the people say 'no, we still want you', I stay on," Mugabe was quoted as saying.
The nonagenarian has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980.
Mugabe told the 1970s liberation fighters that he would only relinquish his power when his supporters told him to step aside.
The ruling Zanu-PF party has been riven by factionalism for years, with Mugabe avoiding naming his successor.
Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa is seen as the likely successor, owing to his long service to Mugabe since the liberation war days.
However, a group of young Turks known as Generation 40 (G40) aligned to First Lady Grace Mugabe are trying to block Mnangagwa's rise to the presidency.
Mugabe recently opened up about the succession battles within his ruling Zanu-PF party, airing his views on the kind of person he thinks should be his successor.
He described the person to take over from him as someone who must be "people oriented" and ready to defend the country from neo-colonialism.
- News 24