UNITED Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) president Elisabeth Valerio says her party is going to be at the forefront of challenging gender stereotypes in political leadership and governance.
Valerio was the only woman among the 11 presidential candidates in the August 2023 elections.
TAKUDZWA GIFT WASHAYA
In a Press statement, the Hwange-based politician said gender disparity has become a norm in Zimbabwe and it has negatively affected women who aspire to take up political, economic and social leadership posts.
She said there is a need to educate the electorate to realise the consequences of suppressing women’s voices in politics and other leadership roles.
“We will actively engage with the electorate and emphasise the point that for our beloved country to realise its great potential, we cannot afford to marginalise 52% of the population and relegate them to subservient roles,” she said.
“We will also emphasise the point that the days of deriving political leaders only from the male section of the population, which is less than half of the population, are long gone”.
Valerio, who got 0.2% of the total votes cast in the disputed polls, said a country like Zimbabwe which has been bedeviled by problems since Independence in 1980 cannot afford to entrench male dominance in politics, a problem she said will plunge the nation into further political disarray.
She said her party will continue engaging the citizens on the importance of gender equality for the development of the country.
“We will also educate our people on the supreme and binding principles of gender equality that are guaranteed in our grundnorm, the constitution of the Republic of Zimbabwe,” she said.
“In this regard, we will robustly engage with the electorate on the gender equality values of our basic law, the constitution, to highlight the need for a paradigm shift from male chauvinism in leadership, to the modern and progressive paradigm of gender equality in leadership.”
She also said UZA is going to focus on economic development through different initiatives as a way of increasing party membership and drumming up support for future polls.
“On our plans to drum up support from the electorate, we will focus to a larger extent on delivering a message of economic growth and development, accountability and stability to the electorate in order to win their votes,” she said.
According to a United Nations Women 2024 report, there are only 26 countries in the world with female heads of state or government and there are only 13 countries in which women hold 50% or more of the cabinet positions.
Zimbabwe is among countries that are struggling to promote gender equality in the politics of the land as only two women are at the helm of political parties.
The problem is also visible in Parliament where men are dominant.
*This article was supported by the Canadian Embassy in Zimbabwe in partnership with the Centre for Public Interest Journalism (The NewsHawks)