Zimbabwean Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai’s party rejected accusations by an army brigadier general that he is a threat to the southern African nation’s security.

Brigadier-General Douglas Nyikayaramba said Tsvangirai, leader of the Movement for Democratic Change, takes orders from “Western leaders,” the state-controlled Herald said today. It quoted him as saying the security forces “would die” to keep President Robert Mugabe, 87, in power and that Tsvangirai would never rule.

“The only threat to Zimbabwe comes from the military, which is interfering in politics,” MDC spokesman Douglas Mwonzora said today by phone from the capital, Harare. “The MDC won the March 2008 election and by any measure, the army should respect that.”

Nyikayaramba’s comments followed statements by Tsvangirai urging officials in the security services to quit their posts and enter politics instead of using their positions to back Mugabe. Tsvangirai’s MDC and Mugabe’s Zimbabwe African National Union-Patriotic Front party agreed to share power after disputed elections in 2008 that the MDC narrowly won.

The MDC insists that Zimbabwe’s security sector be reformed before a new vote is held.

“I don’t see that happening fast because the security sector is Mugabe’s guarantee of power,” political analyst Alois Masepe said in a telephone interview from Harare. Zanu-PF “equates security reform with defeat.”

Under the terms of the power-sharing agreement, Zimbabwe must vote on a new constitution before fresh elections can be held. Mugabe has repeatedly said a vote should be held this year, while the MDC insists no election can take place until at least 2012.

Zimbabwe’s army and Zanu-PF are “inseparable,” the Herald today quoted Nyikayaramba as saying.

“It shows how government is being perverted by a politicized security sector,” Mwonzora said.