Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says the country's top military leaders have told him they will not allow anyone but President Robert Mugabe to rule the country, regardless of who wins an election.
Setting his party’s “minimum conditions” for free and fair elections in the capital Thursday, Mr. Tsvangirai said some military chiefs had told him that he would not take over from Mr. Mugabe even if he won the next elections.
Mr. Tsvangirai said his party does not want “a war and that is why they are insisting on constitutional reforms before any vote is held”.
"We are not afraid, ladies and gentleman, of an election, but we will definitely not participate in a war," Mr. Tsvangirai said.
"It is because of this that the MDC will not be stampeded into a sham election that is not predicated on the necessary reforms."
He said security sector reforms are key before the country’s next elections. Mr. Tsvangirai said he’s aware of a plot by some hardliners in ZANU-PF to force his MDC formation out of the inclusive government, adding he will not be forced into a violent election.
President Mugabe and his ZANU-PF party want elections this year. Speaking Thursday in Bulawayo Mr. Mugabe said a violence-free election is more important for Zimbabwe than a new constitution.
He said the "quarrel" that led to the formation of the inclusive government following the 2008 election was violence and not the urgency of a new constitution.
But Prime Minister Tsvangirai insists Mr. Mugabe cannot call the next elections unilaterally. He said he was encouraged by the Southern African Development Community which he said backs his call for an elections road map.
Responding, ZANU-PF spokesman Rugare Gumbo told VOA Studio 7’s Blessing Zulu that Mr. Tsvangirai’s claims are unfounded.
But political analyst Pedzisayi Ruhanya says Zimbabwe is already a defacto military state.