The president was making the point that he won’t be forced to step down by factions within his party plotting to succeed him.
Ruling party officials in four out of Zimbabwe’s 10 provinces have already said they want President Mugabe to be their candidate in the 2018 elections.
And the other six are likely to do the same ahead of next month’s party congress.
So, Mugabe’s comments about retirement are unlikely to mean that he’s getting ready to step down any time soon.
State media says he told a meeting of independent war collaborators that if he has to retire he will do so properly.
He has joked, rather grimly, that those plotting to succeed him are unhappy that he hasn’t died in what seems to be a reference to top Zanu-PF officials.