By Panashe Kaseke
Elisabeth Valerio’s United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) will not be participating in the December 9, 2023 By-Elections declared by the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC) with the aim to fill vacant seats in the National Assembly, council and the Senate.
This comes after the recent High Court ruling to uphold the recalls that were made by Citizen Coalition for Change (CCC) Interim Secretary General, Sengezo Tshabangu.
Posting on X, Valerio announced that UZA will not be participating in the upcoming By-Elections because the party lacks confidence in ZEC and they do not want to legitimize a process that is illegitimate, unfair and unsafe.
“We do not have confidence in the Zimbabwe Electoral Commission (ZEC), which has proven to be biased and has not implemented any meaningful electoral reforms since the disputed 2023 harmonized elections. The August 2023 elections were condemned by local and international observers as neither free nor fair, yet ZEC has not addressed the issues of intimidation, militarization of staff, lack of transparency and the shambolic voters’ rolls that marred the elections.
Valerio stated that the by-elections are diverting from the real issues affecting the nation and the cost of the process will be a waste of resources that can be used for national development,” she said.
“Reportedly, the December by-elections will cost at least US$5 million. This is an unacceptable and irresponsible waste of resources that could be better used for national development and service delivery in our country at a time when we are facing a Cholera outbreak, severe shortages of essential drugs, medical equipment and medical personnel.
“We do not believe that participating in the by-elections will advance the cause of democracy and the welfare of the people of Zimbabwe. The by-elections appear to be a diversion from the real issues affecting the nation, such as the economic crisis, the human rights violations, the corruption and the constitutional amendments aimed at entrenching ZANU-PF dictatorship,” she said.
UZA’s decision to withdraw from participating in the by-elections was reached after extensive consultations with it’s National Directorate, members and supporters across the country.
Valerio was the only female candidate amongst the presidential candidates for the 2023 presidential elections held on 23 and 24 August. Her candidature was granted by the Electoral Court after the Nomination Court threw out her papers for submitting them late.