Community Development Opinions Politics

UZA President Elisabeth Valerio inspires aspiring Councillor

Elizabeth Valerio, the UZA Party president
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Writes Tafadzwa Muranganwa

A Ward 31, Dzivarasekwa aspiring councillor, Lecy Mutsigwa revealed her strong admiration for United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) party president Elisabeth Valerio.

Mutsigwa revealed this during a ‘campaign dialogue on opportunities and challenges facing women in politics organised by the Gender and Media Connect (GMC) on Friday, stating that the opposition female leader inspired her to venture into politics.

“I was not interested in getting into political leadership but this year I have decided to throw my hat in the ring.

“This is because I marvel at the zeal of our president, Valerio, in pursuing politics. Using her resources, she managed to pay nomination fees for over 100 MP candidates, a feat some male presidential candidates failed to achieve.

“Her determination encourages me a lot,” she said.

She then highlighted some of the challenges she is facing in her bid to be a councillor in the forthcoming polls.

“As a female candidate and coming from a new party, I am often ridiculed for being too ambitious.

“I have also been intimidated on some occasions that I don’t stand a chance against male candidates, “added Mutsigwa.

According to the Zimbabwe Election Support Network (ZESN)’s media and information officer, Emilia Bundo, the number of women candidates has significantly dropped compared to the 2018 elections.

“The number of female candidates has gone down. This year, it’s 11 percent, while in 2018 it was 14 percent.

“So as an organisation, we do engage female candidates to conscientise them on their civic and political rights,” revealed Emilia.

Gender and media expert, Ruth Butaumocho, said while there has been significant progress in gender-sensitive reporting in the media, there is still a need for improvements.

“There has been some notable progress by the media from 2018 in terms of availing space to women.

“However, the media has also been an accomplice in the downfall of women. For example, the media has been quick to focus on the social life of aspiring candidates at the expense of what they are offering in terms of political content. One such victim is Linda Masarira, ” opines Butaumocho, the Herald managing editor.

Gender and Media Connect consultant, Nonhlanhla Ngwenya, says the organisation will be rolling more of these dialogues to capacitate women in politics and enhance gender-sensitive coverage.

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Byron Adonis Mutingwende