President Robert Mugabe has given the strongest indication of his candidature for the next presidential elections in Zimbabwe.

According to the 93-year-old leader, the people wanted him to stand and for so long as he had the capacity to continue, he will not turn the people down. “Of course if I feel that I can’t do it anymore, I will say so to my party so that they relieve me. But for now, I think I can’t say so.

“They want me to stand for elections, they want me to stand for elections everywhere in the party … The majority of the people feel that there is no replacement, successor who to them is acceptable, as acceptable as I am,” he told state media ahead of his 93rd birthday on Tuesday, February 21, 2017.

“The people, you know, would want to judge everyone else on the basis of President Mugabe as the criteria,” Mugabe added.

Africa’s oldest leader has been in power since 1980 when the southern African country gained independence from Britain. He has previously said he wants to live until 100 and rule for life.

He commands unrivaled support in ruling ZANU-PF which is grappling with factional fights as party officials jostle for influence in a post-Mugabe era. His wife late last week said the party will even field his corpse as a candidate it the need arises.

Mugabe’s reign has been characterised by economic crisis and sanctions which he has repeatedly blamed on western powers plotting to overthrow his regime. The economic crisis triggered a wave of protests last year.

The country late last year introduced bond notes which had the value of the United States dollar as part of efforts to cure a currency crunch, it has done little to assuage many Zimbabweans who fear they will go the way of the Zimbabwe dollar that triggered hyperinflation in 2009.