( dpa )- Zimbabwe opposition leader Morgan Tsvangirai vowed Thursday his party would not allow President Robert Mugabe's party to steal victory in polls this Saturday.
Addressing around 8,000 cheering supporters in the poor, dusty working class town of Chitungwiza, south of Harare, Tsvangirai vowed to open a "new chapter" for Zimbabwe.
"What Robert (Mugabe) does not understand is that he can no longer steal this vote with the cooperation of the MDC. We will start and open a new chapter for this country," he said.
"This time it's time for Robert to commit himself to honour the election," he said as young supporters in the crowd shouted: "Yes, free and fair elections."
Tsvangirai, who wore his trademark wide-brimmed Stetson hat and a black and white open-necked shirt, is standing against the 84-year- old president for a second time.
Former finance minister Simba Makoni is also standing. He is believed to be a favourite for educated urbanites and businesspeople. Little-known Langton Towungana from Victoria Falls is the fourth candidate.
At the rally, the MDC leader said the question was no longer whether people wanted "change", his party's slogan. Instead, he said "we have to defend our vote."
The MDC leader - whom his supporters call "super-sub", meaning super substitute for Mugabe - claimed that 30 "ghost polling stations" had been set up in Mashonaland Central province, where Mugabe's ruling ZANU-PF party is dominant.
He also said nine million ballots have been printed for the poll, in which fewer than six million people are registered to vote. Mugabe has dismissed the vote-rigging claims as "lies".
"You want to tell lies, lies there has been rigging," Mugabe told supporters at a rally in Nyanga, in the eastern Manicaland province in quotes carried by the official Herald daily Thursday. He warned the opposition not to stage any violent protests should they lose.
Excitement is running high ahead of Saturdays polls. At the Chitungwiza rally, after years of fear and intimidation, the crowd danced to songs lampooning Mugabe.
With his voice hoarse from addressing back-to-back rallies this week, Tsvangirai sang in Shona: "Robert watch out, its over."
"On March 29 Bob (Mugabe) is going to be relegated to a herd boy, and Tsvangirai is going to be promoted to State House," one youth leader told the crowd earlier. "Everyone, and I mean everyone, is now prepared to die for a new Zimbabwe," said the speaker.