After the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) rejected Elisabeth Valerio's nomination on the grounds that she had missed the deadline to pay the $20,000 (£15,000) nomination fees, Valerio challenged the ZEC's decision in court and won, allowing her to appear on the ballot as Zimbabwe's only female presidential candidate.
What transpired in court indicated that Valerio had paid the nomination fee via the Real Time Gross Settlement System (RTGS), but that the funds had not yet shown in the ZEC's bank account. As a result, her nomination was rejected.
Valerio, a businesswoman, scientist, and conservationist who also happens to be the leader of the opposition United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) that she helped found on May 29, 2021, has stated that the party's goal is to bring Zimbabweans together and create a wealthy and sustainable future for the struggling nation.
Born on September 3, 1973 in Harare to the late politician Isabel Pasalk Madangure, Valerio has said she is confident she can beat off her opponents.
“Politics is not about being in existence for longer or being male or female. It is about the ideas you are presenting to the electorate. So ideologically, I know I can win,” Valerio told Anadolu news agency.
Valerio is now among the country’s 12 presidential contenders for the August 23 elections following her court triumph.
“Let us celebrate this announcement and strive to ensure that the forthcoming elections truly represent the desires and aspirations of the people of Zimbabwe,” Valerio said.
“Our plea is for a peaceful campaign period, understanding that the people’s will should prevail post 23 August 2023,” she continued. But as Zimbabwe goes for votes next month, the economic crisis will be the main issue for voters.
Earlier this month she stated that women in Zimbabwe were being "denied the opportunity to participate".
Zimbabwe's current president, Emmerson Mnangagwa, is running for reelection under the banner of the ruling Zimbabwe Africa National Union-Patriotic Front (Zanu-PF). Other candidates include Nelson Chamisa, who is heading the Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC), Saviour Kasukuwere, who was close to the late president Robert Mugabe, and who is also the target of a legal challenge that might prevent him from running.