“Some war is going on in my party. People want positions. They even want to push senior people out,” Mugabe said in a speech delivered to lawmakers on Tuesday but broadcast on national television only on Wednesday.
“Some are saying ‘Mr Mugabe is old so he should step down’. Me, who brought the party to where it is now, who experienced colonial rule, jail and was in the bush alongside the freedom fighters?
“Then along comes a mere child. No! When my time comes I will tell you,” he said without naming anyone.
Mugabe’s remarks came after his wife Grace claimed in mid-October that Vice President Joice Mujuru was threatening to tear the ZANU-PF party apart and plotting to overthrow the veteran president.
Grace Mugabe called on Mujuru to resign or be forced to step aside.
Mujuru and powerful Justice Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa are seen as the leading contenders to replace the 90-year-old Mugabe, who has been in power since independence from Britain in 1980.
The battle escalated following Grace Mugabe’s surprise nomination to lead the powerful women’s wing of ZANU-PF, amid speculation that she could be aiming to take over from her husband when he steps down or dies.
Mugabe, Africa’s oldest leader, is expected to be confirmed as the party’s leader at the congress early in December, but the fight for positions on the powerful politburo could be decisive for the campaign to succeed him.