Africa

Zimbabwe's ruling party backs Mugabe, 92, for 2018 election

  • Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addresses people at an event before the closure of his party's 16th Annual Peoples Conference in Masvingo, about 300 kilometres south of the capital Harare, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. Mugabe officially opened the conference where he is set to be endorsed as the ruling party candidate for Presidential elections set for 2018.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

    Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addresses people at an event before the closure of his party's 16th Annual Peoples Conference in Masvingo, about 300 kilometres south of the capital Harare, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. Mugabe officially opened the conference where he is set to be endorsed as the ruling party candidate for Presidential elections set for 2018.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)  (The Associated Press)

  • Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's children Robert, left, and Chatunga attend Zanu PF's 16th Annual Peoples Conference in Masvingo, about 300 kilometres south of the capital Harare, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. Mugabe officially opened the conference where he is set to be endorsed as the ruling party candidate for Presidential elections set for 2018.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

    Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe's children Robert, left, and Chatunga attend Zanu PF's 16th Annual Peoples Conference in Masvingo, about 300 kilometres south of the capital Harare, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. Mugabe officially opened the conference where he is set to be endorsed as the ruling party candidate for Presidential elections set for 2018.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)  (The Associated Press)

  • Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addresses people at an event before the closure of his party's 16th Annual Peoples Conference in Masvingo, about 300 kilometres south of the capital Harare, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. Mugabe officially opened the conference where he is set to be endorsed as the ruling party candidate for Presidential elections set for 2018.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

    Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe addresses people at an event before the closure of his party's 16th Annual Peoples Conference in Masvingo, about 300 kilometres south of the capital Harare, Saturday, Dec. 17, 2016. Mugabe officially opened the conference where he is set to be endorsed as the ruling party candidate for Presidential elections set for 2018.(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)  (The Associated Press)

Zimbabwe's ruling party has endorsed 92-year-old President Robert Mugabe as its candidate in a national election scheduled for 2018.

The ZANU-PF party announced the endorsement Saturday at an annual conference in the southeast town of Masvingo. The party's youth wing even proposed that Mugabe should rule for life with broad powers.

In a speech Friday, Mugabe acknowledged that some people within the ruling party wanted him to quit and he warned officials to stop squabbling as a succession battle intensifies.

Mugabe has been in power since the southern African nation's independence from white minority rule in 1980.

A deteriorating economy has increased pressure on Mugabe, who has faced more opposition protests in the past year.