Victory for Zimbabwe's only female candidate in the presidential race
Elizabeth Valerio hails 'historic moment for gender equality and women's representation in leadership roles'
United Zimbabwe Alliance leader Elisabeth Valerio has won her appeal against the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) decision to reject her nomination papers for late submission.
Valerio was among the aspiring presidential candidates in Zimbabwe who were disqualified from filing their nomination papers after their applications were rejected by the commission due to “banking system challenges”.
Valerio, 49, appealed the rejection of her nomination papers in the high court in Harare.
On Wednesday, judge Samuel Deme ruled the ZEC made a mistake in refusing to accept her nomination papers.
The ZEC was ordered to take all necessary steps to ensure she is registered and her name appears on the ballot paper as one of the presidential candidates.
This win means so much to me personally, but it is also a win for women. It reaffirms my belief in the power of perseverance and the importance of standing for what is right.Elisabeth Valerio, United Zimbabwe Alliance president
A biochemist, Valerio becomes the only woman candidate in Zimbabwe's presidential race among 11 male candidates.
Valerio told TimesLIVE her running for the highest office is a win for women in Zimbabwe.
“I am elated and grateful for the successful outcome of my appeal. This win means so much to me personally, but it is also a win for women. It reaffirms my belief in the power of perseverance and the importance of standing for what is right,” she said.
“As the only woman running for the highest office in Zimbabwe, this victory holds even greater significance. It is a historic moment for gender equality and women's representation in leadership roles. This win symbolises the breaking of barriers and paves the way for more women to aspire to and achieve positions of power and influence.”
Valerio launched her party in 2022 to “bring all Zimbabweans together” to build the country, build communities.
She grew up in Hwange in Matabeleland North and attended university in the US. With a career as a biochemist, Valerio moved back to Zimbabwe in 2014.
She is no stranger to Zimbabwean politics: her mother Isabel Madangure was one of few women to form a political party in the late 1990s.
The election is seen to be a toss-up between incumbent President Emmerson Mnangagwa of the governing Zanu-PF and opposition Citizens Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa, but the participation of Valerio is seen as a victory for Zimbabwean women in a deeply conservative country.
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