Zimbabwe Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai says the country's military leaders have told him they will not allow anyone but President Robert Mugabe to rule the country, regardless of who wins an election.
At a press conference Thursday in the capital, Harare, Tsvangirai said he and his MDC party do 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," 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."
President Mugabe has promised to hold elections this year, with or without the new constitution. But Prime Minister Tsvangirai insists Mugabe cannot call the election unilaterally.
Last week, Tsvangirai and Mugabe set a deadline of March 15 for a constitutional committee to submit its initial draft.
The government-owned Herald newspaper said the two leaders were "deeply perturbed" by the slow pace of the constitutional drafting process. President Mugabe has recently criticized what some see as deliberate delays in drafting the constitution, which was supposed to be in place a year ago.
Mugabe's ZANU-PF party entered into a power-sharing deal with the Tsvangirai's MDC following violence-plagued elections in 2008. But progress has been slow and uneven, and the unity government remains fragile.