Opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) leader Nelson Chamisa gestures during the launch of his party's election manifesto in Harare

Harare - Zimbabwe's main opposition leader, Nelson Chamisa, on Wednesday accused the electoral body of trying to manipulate upcoming polls in favor of the ruling party, saying he would "rather die" than participate in a rigged vote.

"I would rather die than participate in an election that is not free and fair," said the 40-year-old leader of the Movement for Democratic Change (MDC).

"The Zimbabwe Electoral Commission ... has shown that it is either incapable or unwilling to provide Zimbabweans with a verifiable, secure and transparent election," said Chamisa.

"There will no election in this country if our concerns are not addressed," he added.

The MDC wants the electoral commission to halt the printing of ballot papers until a common position on the design and structure of the ballots has been agreed upon. They argue the current design favours incumbent President Emmerson Mngangagwa as his name has been put at the top.

Chamisa also wants the body to provide his party with an electronic voters' roll containing photographs of registered voters. He contends that there are several anomalies.

Zimbabweans go to the polls on July 30 - the first time they have done so in almost 40 years without former president Robert Mugabe on the ballot. He was ousted in a coup last year.

Priscilla Chigumba, the chairwoman of the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission, defended the body.

"Whatever we do is guided by the laws of this country," she said.

All political parties were free to collect copies of the voters roll at the ZEC offices, she added.