Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, who has ruled the country for 36 years, has hinted at his possible retirement, but said he would leave office on his own terms.
The 92-year-old, who took charge of Zimbabwe following its independence from colonial rule in 1980, has faced widespread protests in 2016 as the country continues to suffer from high unemployment and economic woes.
At a meeting with a group of independence war veterans in the capital Harare on Sunday, Mugabe said that he was aware of factions within his Zanu-PF party aimed at succeeding him.
“If I have to retire, let me retire properly,” said Mugabe at the meeting, according to Zimbabwean newspaper the Sunday Mail. The Zimbabwean president put no time frame on any proposed retirement.
Mugabe’s comments were significant since he has consistently indicated that he wants to stay in office. The veteran leader said in March that he planned to live to be 100 years old and that he had no intention of retiring. Zanu-PF has nominated Mugabe as its candidate for the 2018 presidential election.
Zanu-PF is reportedly split between backers of the president’s wife, Grace Mugabe—known as the G40 faction—and those supporting Vice-President Emmerson Mnangagwa, who are collectively termed the Lacoste faction.