Elisabeth Valerio, the only female Presidential candidate vying for the Presidential seat come 23 August has said she is ready to lead Zimbabwe.
Valerio’s Presidential bid has been marred with a lot of entanglements especially for someone like her who is relatively a newbie to the political arena.
Last week Thursday, Valerio finally got back on the ballot following a gruesome Court battle after being initially struck off by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission for failing to submit her Presidential fee in time.
Just like her mother who was at one time vying for the Presidential seat several years ago, she also has now found herself in the same scenario.
Born in Harare and hailing from Masvingo, the oldest city in Zimbabwe, Valerio has categorically stated that despite the fact that she is the only female candidate amongst the other 11, she has had to go to the Courts to be on the ballot and she is a newbie in the political arena, she is ready to turn around the fortunes of Zimbabwe.
With her political party, United Zimbabwe Alliance, 60 Parliamentary candidates will also be eyeing seats in the legislature where they are hoping to make an impact and ensure that they represent the people to the fullest.
“I am very happy that I am now back on the ballot. It was really having a toil not only on me but the party as it kind of distracted our political campaign but we are back now and I want to thank the judiciary for this verdict,” said Valerio.
Although there are now only 12 aspiring Presidential hopefuls there were many who were vying for the top seat prior to last month’s deadline by ZEC to pay the USD20 000 Presidential fees, but many pulled out in the 11th hour even though they had said they would be on the ballot several months ago when the Presidential fees were announced.
As it stands, UZA has already spent USD80 000 for the Presidential fee and the USD1 000 for the Parliamentary candidates.
That then brings the question as to how a new party like UZA would be able to raise such an amount of money especially considering its political prominence?
“Well before joining politics I was and I am a scientist, an entrepreneur, inventor and business person but that doesn’t take away from the fact that the fees are astronomical, raising even a USD1 000 is a mammoth task and I am sure many Zimbabweans can relate due to the current economic prevailing conditions and it’s even harder if you are a woman but we had to and I had to pay the fees so that we can change the stature of Zimbabwe,” said Valerio.
In addition, Valerio said she was already taking up the initiative of bringing back Zimbabwe to its former glory.
“Already we are in the process of establishing 30 companies that will focus on creating jobs for women and the youth without the aid of the Government. So we are not just saying put us in Government and see what we will do rather we are already doing something even though we are not yet in Government,” said Valerio.
Valerio also said once she is President she will ensure that what she has encountered in getting herself on the ballot and the aspiring Parliamentarians does not happen again noting that the political arena should be for everyone especially women.
She also cited that she was ready to root out corruption as she has already done in her party, work with other like-minded political parties and also engage with various diplomats to ensure that sanctions are removed.
“I am already in talks with several diplomats who are representing their embassies in the country on how we can work together without any impediments and we are ready to work with like-minded political parties for the betterment of this country because we have to put our heads together if we ever want to see this country moving forward.
We also need to decisively deal with corruption which has contributed significantly to the downfall of this country otherwise it will just be a futile exercise. Zimbabweans need to be put first not personal interests if ever we want Zimbabwe to return to its former glory. If we manage to do this it will be possible for every Zimbabwean to have a decent life, that’s what I can promise Zimbabweans,” said Valerio.