20/02/2017 06:50 SAST | Updated 20/02/2017 06:54 SAST

Robert Mugabe Turns 93 On Tuesday And Really Has No Plans To Step Down

"The majority of people feel that there is no replacement."

Philimon Bulawayo / Reuters

Don't hold your breath. President Robert Mugabe might be turning 93 on Tuesday but he's got no intention of stepping down.

Mugabe, who's been in power since 1980, said in an interview to mark his birthday: "If I feel that I can't do it anymore, I will say so to my party."

"But for now I think I can't say so. The majority of people feel that there is no replacement," the president told an interviewer from the state ZBC television, insisting that he was supported "everywhere in the party". Excerpts from the interview were published in the official Sunday Mail.

The longtime leader appears increasingly slow in public but won't even confirm if he's grooming a successor. "A successor is groomed by the people.... When the people see that they trust their leaders, [that they are] beyond corruption... sure that's grooming," he said.

There's widespread suspicion Mugabe's wife Grace might be aiming for the top spot though she faces bitter opposition in a faction of the ruling party aligned to vice president Emmerson Mnangagwa.

In the first of what will be a series of countrywide rallies, the first lady said Friday that Mugabe could be fielded in next year's election as a corpse.