President Robert Mugabe of Zimbabwe on Saturday said he was not stepping down nor dying and that there was no one with his political stature who could immediately take over from him.
The 93-year-old leader has been in charge in the former British colony since independence in 1980.
His health is closely watched by Zimbabweans, who fear the country could face chaos if he dies without anointing a successor.
Mugabe told tens of thousands of supporters at a rally in the town of Chinhoyi, in his home province, that doctors were recently surprised by his “strong bone system.”
He has traveled to Singapore three times this year for what officials say is routine medical treatment.
“There is the issue that the president is going. I am not going,” Mugabe told supporters on the grounds of a local university, 100 km west of the capital Harare.
“The president is dying. I am not dying. I will have an ailment here and there but bodywise, all my internal organs … very firm, very strong,” Mugabe said as he leant on the lectern.
Mugabe had walked onto the stage slowly but without assistance.