Zimbabwe Opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai yesterday called on long-serving President Robert Mugabe to step down or risk being overthrown by a violent protest.

Tsvangirai said Mugabe's Zanu PF-led administration had ruined "the jewel of Africa" so much that few options now remained for Zimbabweans to restore their livelihoods.

He said Zimbabweans stood ready to confront Mugabe head-on, even if he resorted to brute State machinery to crush dissent.

"This is a regime that survives on violence against innocent people. We want to make sure that this regime faces its end. There are two options to the endgame. The first option is a violent endgame. The second option is a peaceful transition," Tsvangirai told thousands of MDC T supporters during the party's 17th anniversary celebrations at White City Stadium in Bulawayo yesterday.

The celebrations were also attended by officials from other opposition parties such as Joice Mujuru's ZimPF, Welshman Ncube's MDC and Temba Mliswa's Yard and several civic groups.

"Mugabe must choose between these two options; a violent option where we get to a point where someone is shot with live ammunition because he or she was simply demonstrating, or when we reach a stage where Mugabe chooses to install his wife Grace as president then it becomes gloves off and we confront the regime," Tsvangirai said.

"But there is an alternative option. Mugabe must retire. The whole world is now saying Mugabe must retire, and after he retires there comes a peaceful transition."

Mugabe has repeatedly shot down calls for him to step down, while Zanu PF has even endorsed the 92-year-old leader as the party's presidential candidate for the 2018 elections. The First Lady has gone further to make bizarre declarations that Mugabe will continue to rule even from the grave.