Elisabeth Valerio Biography | Background | Career | Businesses | Political Career and 2023 Elections
Elisabeth Valerio, a Zimbabwean politician and entrepreneur, is the visionary behind the formation of the United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA), an opposition political party.
Elisabeth Valerio’s roots trace back to Masvingo through her mother. During the mid-1970s, her parents ran a successful grocery store located at Machipisa Shopping Centre in Highfield.
Having pursued her higher education in the United States at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), Elisabeth began her professional journey as a biochemist before relocating to Hwange. There, she devoted nearly a decade to fulfil a heartfelt promise made to her mother on her deathbed—to protect and care for a herd of elephants in Dete.
During her time in Hwange, Elisabeth Valerio founded Gobelo, a company focused on the research and development of natural and indigenous consumer products. Additionally, she collaborated with her husband to establish Gwango, an attractive tourism destination situated at the edge of Hwange National Park. This venture encompasses guest rooms, conference facilities, restaurants, and a BaNambya Cultural Exhibit.
Her passion for entrepreneurship led her to create the Entrepreneurial and Leadership Initiative for Sustainability in Africa (ELISA), a platform supporting African entrepreneurs through an online portal and an annual summit hosted in Hwange.
On 17 March 2022, Elisabeth Valerio officially launched the United Zimbabwe Alliance (UZA) party, serving as its interim President. In that same year, UZA successfully fielded four candidates in council and parliamentary by-elections.
In July 2023, Elisabeth Valerio was granted permission by the Electoral Court to contest the 2023 presidential election after her papers were rejected by the Nomination Court for a late submission.
Valerio became the only woman presidential aspirant in a field of 11 men, including President Emmerson Mnangagwa and Nelson Chamisa of the Citizens Coalition for Change.
In the same election, UZA had 31 National Assembly and 128 Local Authority candidates contesting in 61 constituencies.