BELARUS President Aleksandr Lukashenko made his first foray into sub-Saharan Africa by visiting Zimbabwe as President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s engagement and re-engagement efforts under the Second Republic continue to bear fruit.
This was no mere visit but one that has deepened an already strong relationship between the two nations.
Already strong relations exist on the diplomatic and economic fronts and most important from the historic visit is the message from President Lukashenko.
During his three-day State visit, he uttered words of wisdom worth repeating and that our people must take to heart and remember always.
“Today, the biggest countries of the world, the world powers, are trying to divide the world.
They are trying to suppress countries like Zimbabwe and Belarus and of course to benefit from such suppression,” he said.
“Zimbabwe looks like a miracle story, it has all the mineral resources crucial for survival, that is why they will not let you live peacefully.
“The reason behind the sanctions imposed on your country by America is not because you are not democratic, but because your Government made a decision not to let foreign companies cheat your country, rob your country, to put your country on its knees.
“It was the decision of your country to take control of your natural resources that led Western countries, including the US, to impose sanctions on Zimbabwe.”
There could be no truer words.
Harare and Minsk have, for some time now, been closely collaborating in many key areas crucial to the growth of our economy.
Belarus has a population of only about 9,4 million but has a Gross Domestic Product of US$79,7 billion with an economy anchored mainly on manufacturing and agriculture
The economic deals between Zimbabwe and Belarus will forever change the fortunes of Zimbabwe.
We have many valuable minerals but ours could easily become an agro-based economy; we have the soil and perfect weather including the largest water body in sub-Saharan Africa.
And Belarus has been a key partner and helper in efforts to turn around our agricultural fortunes.
Indeed the complementary nature of the two countries’ economies have created a solid foundation for successful interaction and co-operation.
With such support, we will experience rapid industrialisation.
We do not doubt that Belarus has the necessary experience and knowledge to support us achieve our goals.
We have been offered more tractors, combine harvesters and trucks, worth more than US$60 million, in the Second Phase of the Zimbabwe-Belarus Agricultural Mechanisation Programme.
“You will see Western nations trying to sow dissension among you, trying to bend you over, to put you on your knees,” said President Lukashenko.
“You should, and must ,survive. You will survive if you stand united, if you will not let discord separate your nation over some illusory democratic values.
“This year, you are going to have elections and this will be a huge challenge for your nation and I hope you will be able to pass through this.
“Please don’t trust liars, there are no miracles; good results and success and happiness can only be realised through daily hard work.
“Remember, only through hard work will you be able to achieve what you want to achieve, and remember there is a country in the heart of Europe, Belarus, that is always on the ready to give you a helping hand, if need be.”
Let us take heed of President Lukashenko’s wise words and thank President Mnangagwa for finding us progressive friends who wish us good and success and extend a helping hand.