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Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe addresses a media conference at State house in Harare Reuters

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe has announced he will be the leader of the south African country until he dies.

"I am never going to retire," he said in a meeting at his home in Harare last week, according to local media reports. "I will go when death takes me."

He told a meeting of military veterans he would "continue as president as long as God wished him to remain there".

His statement came ahead of the Zanu (PF) party's congress, which is held every five-years, where a show of hands will cast the vote for Mugabe's continued leadership of the country.

Opponents condemned Mugabe's comments that he would never stand down from his position.

"Until God calls him?" asked opposition politician Jessie Majome. "What about the 12 million Zimbabweans?"

Last month, Zimbabwe's Vice-President Joice Mujuru was ousted from the ruling party's central committee after being accused of plotting to assassinate Mugabe.

Mugabe's wife, Grace, has led a public campaign against Mujuru ever since the allegations of an assassination plot emerged, calling for her to step down.

On the second day of the party's congress, Mugabe said of Mujuru: "I go to an election and I am expected to bow to my deputy and say I won the election you take over. That was the wide expectation, foolish and idiotic."