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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 May, 2004, 08:50 GMT 09:50 UK
Mugabe to retire 'in four years'
President Robert Mugabe
Mugabe says he wants to write when he leaves office
Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe has said he will not seek re-election when his current term of office expires in four years' time.

Mr Mugabe, who was 80 in February, was quoted by Kenya's East African Standard newspaper as saying he was tired of politics and wanted to write.

He added that he was busy looking for a suitable successor.

Mr Mugabe was re-elected two years ago in a poll disputed as fraudulent by the opposition.

I want to retire from politics - I have had enough
Robert Mugabe
His leadership has been widely criticised by Western governments over alleged human rights abuses, violent land redistribution and attacks against the independent media.

Succession problems

Mr Mugabe's announcement came despite an endorsement by 200 chiefs in the capital Harare, who asked him to stand for another term.

He has not specified in the past whether he would stand for another term, but correspondents say there has been speculation that he would step down before this period of office ends.

However, the Zimbabwean leader appeared to reject this option.

"I want to retire from politics," he was quoted as saying. "I have had enough. I am also a writer and would like to concentrate on writing after this term of office is over."

He said he was having problems finding a successor, but was confident these would be overcome.

"I don't think I will miss a successor," he said. "Out of 30 million people, there must be a capable person to take over after me and he will be the chosen one."

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