Zambian President Michael Sata has backed President Robert Mugabes calls for elections this year, denting hopes the region would resist the polls before key reforms were implemented.
MDC-T is banking on the Southern African Development Committee (Sadc) to stop President Mugabe from pushing for elections before the completion of the constitution-making process.
Zanu PF at its conference in Bulawayo last month resolved elections must be held this year with or without the new charter.
But MDC-T has insisted there would be no polls without reforms including those of the electoral and security laws. Sadc, through its mediator in Zimbabwe South African President Jacob Zuma are expected to play a key role in the process.
Sata who came to power last year and has never hidden his admiration of President Mugabe, told Britains Telegraph newspaper reforms were unnecessary.
You people, the Western countries, you taught us that democracy is elections, he was quoted as saying. Now somebody wants elections and you say no.
There will be elections and (President) Mugabe will go and someone else will take over, but not someone imposed by the Western countries.
He said he would not block the 87-year-old leaders push to abandon the inclusive government and dismissed Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai as a stooge.
We dont know the policies of Morgan he has other people speaking for him rather than speaking for himself, Sata claimed.
The Zambian leaders predecessors Rupiah Banda and the late Levy Mwanawasa were critical of President Mugabe, accusing him of undermining the Zimbabwe economy.