Tsvangirai rues lack of reforms ahead of Zimbabwe vote

Zimbabwe's Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai: "It doesn't matter who wins"

Reforms needed to ensure free and fair presidential and parliamentary polls in Zimbabwe later this month have not been introduced, says PM Morgan Tsvangirai.

He also pledged to create more jobs as he launched his campaign at a rally in Marondera, ahead of the 31 July vote.

He is standing for president against his main rival and coalition partner, Robert Mugabe.

On Friday Mr Mugabe said it was a "do or die struggle", but urged supporters to refrain from violence.

The 89-year-old president predicted a 90% victory for his Zanu-PF party.

There have been concerns about violence and intimidation ahead of the vote.

Jobs, healthcare, economy

Mr Tsvangirai was approaching these elections "with a heavy heart", since the necessary reforms had not been introduced, he told the crowd.

Robert Mugabe (on left) and Morgan Tsvangirai in Harare on 22 May 2013 Arch-rivals Mugabe (l) and Tsvangirai will face off again in the presidential vote

"There are no reforms in the media, and other reforms to ensure free and fair elections have not been achieved," he told supporters at the rally east of Harare.

The leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) pledged to create jobs and boost industries such as manufacturing and mining that have seen businesses closed in recent times.

He also promised to introduce free health care within the first 100 days of his presidency and to scrap maternity healthcare fees for women.

And the 61-year-old said he would only bring back the Zimbabwean dollar if there was economic stability.

He pulled out of the second round of the 2008 presidential election, accusing the security forces and pro-Mugabe militias of attacking his supporters around the country.

He had won the most votes in the first round but, according to official results, not enough to win outright.

After Mr Mugabe went ahead with the run-off, winning with 85% of votes cast, regional mediators intervened to organise the power-sharing agreement.

The election will mark the end of that coalition government, which has stabilised the country's economy.

On Thursday, the Constitutional Court rejected an appeal by both parties to delay elections set for 31 July for a couple of weeks.

Critics says key security, media and electoral reforms demanded by regional mediators, the Southern African Development Community (Sadc), have yet to be implemented.

The MDC also warned last month that the voters' roll was in a "shambles" and the vote could be rigged.

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