Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, 92, has, for the first time, hinted on his retirement, while also admitting that the country’s economy is crumbling, reports said on Monday.

According to the State-owned Sunday Mail newspaper, the nonagenarian said that he had used his time in office to “fend off the West’s spirited machinations to destroy Zanu-PF and the ideals the party stands for”.

Mugabe said that if he were to retire, he would do so “properly”.

It was however, not clear what he meant by “properly”.

Mugabe said this during a meeting with war collaborators in Harare over the weekend.

The veteran leader said he believed he had now “defeated… the British and Americans…”, adding that he understood times were difficult in Zimbabwe, a report by eNCA said.

“We are in a critical time… for regime change”, Mugabe was quoted as saying.

Meanwhile, the state broadcaster, ZBC, reported on Monday that several Zanu-PF provinces had endorsed Mugabe as the party’s presidential candidate for the 2018 elections.

Mashonaland West, Mashonaland East, Mashonaland West and Matabeleland South provinces “all passed a confidence vote to Mugabe’s leadership”, the report said.

If Mugabe is re-elected, he will only retire in 2023, when he turns 99.

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