JUST IN: Valerio faced rejection, took on the system and won – now aims to dethrone ED Mnangagwa

President Emmerson Mnangagwa

The opposition United Zimbabwe Alliance’s Elizabeth Valerio has emerged as the only female candidate in Zimbabwe’s 2023 presidential election race after winning her appeal against the earlier rejection of her nomination papers.

Valerio had taken the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) to court after they refused to accept her nomination, citing administrative deficiencies. But High Court judge Justice Samuel Deme overturned ZEC’s decision and ruled in favour of Valerio.

UZA leader Elisabeth Valerio

“We are overjoyed and thankful that justice has taken its course because we have been hopeful for this outcome as it would have been undemocratic to not have me on that ballot,” Valerio told NewsDay.

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If elected, Valerio would make history as Zimbabwe’s first female president. She immediately appealed to voters to make that happen on August 23.

“The delay has without a doubt been a disadvantage, we still have a long way to go in terms of women’s participation in politics but I hope my inclusion in the presidential race makes a difference and we should all make history by voting in the first female president on August 23,” an elated Valerio said.

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Valerio now joins a field of 12 presidential aspirants vying for the coveted position. Her candidacy comes at a critical time for women’s political participation and could inspire more females to seek leadership roles going forward.

With just a month to sell her vision to Zimbabweans, Valerio faces an uphill task. But she has already proven she is formidable by fighting her way onto that ballot. Now, she needs the country’s voters – both female and male – to make her aspirations a reality.

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