South African President Jacob Zuma reportedly stopped Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirais push for early elections, with or without a new constitution, warning the Premier that Sadc would give him a deaf ear if he complained over the outcome of polls held without the agreed reforms.
Tsvangirai, who has been crying foul over the non-implementation of several provisions in the Global Political Agreement (GPA) and election roadmap, was reportedly told by close party advisers that he stood a better chance of dislodging President Robert Mugabe and Zanu PF if elections were held while the veteran leader was still in power.
He then made a proposal to the MDC-T standing committee, but the body dismissed it, insisting the GPA and election roadmap must be fulfilled.
He was still determined to have his own way, but those against the move leaked the information, resulting in it reaching the ears of Zuma and the facilitation team, said a source close to the matter.
A member of the facilitation team phoned a senior party official who confirmed Tsvangirai was pushing for elections.
Zuma then phoned Tsvangirai and told him Sadc would not recognise a sham election, but would not listen to his cries if he went for rushed polls.
The sources said as part of the strategy to push for early elections, Tsvangirais advisers had
convinced him to write a letter to Mugabe complaining about the state of the inclusive government hoping their discussion would culminate in an agreement for polls.
The letter was, however, leaked by some officials who were against the elections, the source added.
Zumas international relations adviser and spokesperson for the South African facilitation team Lindiwe Zulu declined to comment on the matter yesterday, saying her team did not respond to anything outside the facilitation process.
She said the MDC-T had not brought the issue to the facilitator.
Be that as it may, the date of the elections cannot be decided by the facilitator.
It rests entirely on the shoulders of the three political parties in the GPA, she said.
However, the facilitator will only be comfortable when he discusses the outstanding issues with the principals, when the environment is conducive and when the institutions that we agreed should be functional, are operating, Zulu added.
MDC-T spokesperson Douglas Mwonzora confirmed the partys standing committee met on Monday, but said the issue of elections was not part of the agenda.
The meeting was held just before Tsvangirais meeting with Mugabe.
Indeed the standing committee met to consider emergency business that had come up, but there was no discussion of going to elections without the necessary conditions for elections, Mwonzora said.
Our party is still committed to democratic, free and effective elections and these elections must take place after the conclusion of the constitution-making exercise and other reforms.
Tsvangirais spokesman Luke Tamborinyoka dismissed the allegations and said his boss was steadfast on the need for reforms before elections.
The PMs position on a free and fair election is legendary . . . He has always insisted on reforms to avoid the sham election of 2008.
The major victim of the sham poll and circus of 2008 is the Prime Minister himself who was robbed of an outright victory, Tamborinyoka said.