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Zimbabwe Opposition Leader Promises Reforms During Election Campaign

Morgan Tsvangirai, leader of Zimbabwean Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) addresses supporters during an election rally in Harare
In Zimbabwe, political parties are winding down their campaigns for Thursday's parliamentary election.

An estimated 30,000 supporters of the opposition Movement for Democratic Change attended Sunday's rally.

MDC leader Morgan Tsvangirai appealed to Zimbabweans to vote for his party to bring to an end what he called 25 years of misrule by President Robert Mugabe's ZANU-PF party. Mr. Tsvangirai said, although President Mugabe played a crucial role in Zimbabwe's liberation struggle against colonial rule, his image is now tainted.

"When you take Mugabe's legacy, you find that he has a serious democratic deficit over the last five years. How can you starve your own people? How can you repress your own people? How can you embark on a violent campaign against your own people? What is needed is a new vision, a new Zimbabwe that is able to respond to the national crisis that we face," he said.

Mr. Tsvangirai said, if his party gets the necessary majority in parliament, it will repeal laws introduced by Mr. Mugabe's government that he said deny Zimbabweans their rights.

Mr. Tsvangirai also pledged to revive the ailing health care system, to ensure all Zimbabwean children have access to free primary education and to ensure the elderly are looked after.

He also promised to ask for international assistance to address the country's food shortages.

The Movement for Democratic Change is participating in Thursday's election under protest, as it says the electoral playing field is heavily tilted in favor of the ruling ZANU-PF party.