Elizabeth Valerio, the presidential candidate for the United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) party, says she joined politics after two Chinese firms were granted licenses to mine within Hwange National Park.
Valerio says the widespread exploitation of Zimbabwe’s natural resources by Chinese companies motivated her to enter politics.
“I rallied communities to stop the Chinese from taking so much of Zimbabwe as most of these spaces have sacred historic relevance,” she said.
Stakeholders have raised concerns over Chinese investors getting lucrative mining deals while verbally and physically abusing workers. The government eventually reversed its decision to allow the two firms to mine in Hwange Park in 2020.
Valerio says Zimbabwe’s problems stem from poorly crafted policies. Her party, formed in 2021, has promised to build an inclusive society if elected.
UZA’s participation in the upcoming elections will promote democracy, not divide the opposition vote, according to Valerio. She rejected joining existing opposition parties as she did not see them aligning with her values and vision for Zimbabwe.