Speaking in front of Party loyalists this week at his party headquarters in Harare, Mugabe tapped into his fondness for parables.
"There is no short cut to being the leader of the people," he said. "You should not try to say because the journey is long, then I should take a short cut to arrive quickly. The road has lions. There are pitfalls. There is death."
But despite the projection of strength in the capital, many Zimbabwe people see Mugabe at perhaps his most vulnerable in decades. And that the battle to succeed him is entering a brutal final stage.