PROFESSOR Irina Abelskaya, the Belarusian envoy recently dispatched to Harare to deliver a donation to First Lady Auxillia Mnangagwa, is a mistress of the Eastern European country’s leader Alexander Lukashenko and mother of his “beloved” 20-year-old son Nikolai “Kolya” whom he is grooming to be his successor.
In a similar way, President Emmerson Mnangagwa was in an extramarital relationship with now First Lady Auxillia nee Kutyauripo and sired twin sons, Sean and Collins, at a time he was still married to his first wife, Jayne Mnangagwa, born Jayne Matarise.
She was the first cousin of the late liberation army commander Josiah Magama Tongora.
Jayne’s mother and Tongogara’s mother were sisters and she was born in Shurugwi, Midlands, being the fifth child in a family of eight boys and two girls.
Jayne Matarise met President Mnangagwa in September 1973 while she was living with her first cousin Josiah Magama Tongogara.
Emmerson and Jayne Mnangagwa had their first child, Farai, in 1976. In 1977, the couple was blessed with a second daughter Tasiwa followed by Tasiwa, Vimbayi, Tapiwa, Tariro and Emmerson Junior.
When President Mnangagwa took up a post in Mozambique as the special assistant to the late President Robert Mugabe, Jayne remained in Zambia taking care of the family. She later joined him in Mozambique with the two young children.
After Independence, Jayne Mnangagwa continued to look after the family, choosing to support her husband’s political and public life by focusing on running the family farm, and her own business right up to her death.
Jayne Mnangagwa died on 31 January 2002 after a long battle with cervical cancer and, during that time, Auxillia’s twins, Sean and Collins were 15 years old each, meaning just like Lukashenko, President Mnangagwa had a long period with a mistress.
Lukashenko travels with his son on state and official visits, including to the United Nations and the young man already wields influence in Belarus as he has greeted presidents wearing a tie and natty waistcoat, inspected troops in full military regalia and cast a vote in Belarusian parliamentary elections.
Abelskaya, Lukashenko’s mistress, who is also the medical director of a State Clinical Medical Centre in Belarus, was sent to deliver the medical mobile clinic to Auxillia’s Angels of Hope Foundation on Sunday.
The donation symbolised an entrenching of ties between Lukashenko and Zimbabwe’s First Family following his visit to Harare last year that was followed up by a visit to Minsk by First Lady Auxillia and his twin sons Collins and Sean amid reports the Eastern European strongman is pursuing mineral deals in Zimbabwe.
The mobile clinic gift, whose handover and receipt ceremony was presided over by President Mnangagwa, comprised a high-tech mobile clinic with an advanced gynaecology and oncology screening unit with colposcopy equipment that is used for cancer screening.
According to the ministry of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services, the donated mobile clinic is completely equipped with a state-of-the-art digital mammography system.
After the donation, the Mnangagwas hosted an extravagant dinner event at State House attended by government ministers and top bureaucrats.
The high-end event was hosted by the First Family amid a sea of poverty among ordinary citizens across the country.
Last year in April, Mnangagwa began positioning the First Lady and his children at the centre of cutting family business deals with Belarus using state power and influence.
In April last year, Auxillia flew out of the country with her twin sons, Sean and Collins, under a cloud of secrecy to hold separate meetings with the Belarusian head of state Lukashenko and his Foreign minister Sergei Aleinik on purely personal deals using her proximity to power in Harare.
However, according to Belarus media house Belta, Auxillia discussed issues involving business deals in agriculture, technology and mining.
In another development that showed how the President Mnangagwa uses state power to cement First Family business ties, in February (2023) he was captured by the media arriving in Malabo in Equatorial Guinea, with his son Emmerson Junior.
Equatorial Guinea is ruled by Teodoro Obiang Nguema and his son Teodoro Jnr who is Vice-President, an arrangement which, it seems, Mnangagwa will be happy to stitch back home in Harare.
Earlier in the same year, Mnangagwa and Lukashenko met in Harare. Emmerson Jnr attended high-level meetings at State House despite not being a government official amid concern that he was pursuing family business interests.
Emmerson Jr was again spotted the following day at another high-level event where Lukashenko and his delegation visited the National Heroes’ Acre to lay a wreath at the grave of the unknown soldier.
While the Heroes’ Acre event included scores of other ordinary citizens, it was his presence at the State House closed-door meetings which raised eyebrows.
Lukashenko, in a statement after meeting Auxillia and her sons Sean and Collins in Minsk, confirmed that he had clinched deals which he had negotiated with Mnangagwa in Harare during his February visit.
Lukashenko made it clear that the deals which Auxillia had followed up in Belarus had been made on the back of his friendship with Mnangagwa which implies that they were personal and not for the Zimbabwean government.
Controversial businessman Alekzander Zingman, who is a close ally of Mnangagwa and is also the Zimbabwe’s consul in Belarus, was present in the meetings that Auxillia attended with his children in Belarus.
For the first time, the publicity-craving Auxillia excluded state media journalists from her jaunt, cementing the narrative that the visit was purely over interests of the First Family despite the fact that the trip was state sponsored.
Mnangagwa has long-standing business ties with Lukashenko.
The deals between Belarus and the First Lady are facilitated through Zingman, who in June 2022 was awarded a deal by the Zimbabwean government worth US$62 million to supply local authorities countrywide with fire engines.
Local Government minister July Moyo, who is Mnangagwa’s ally from the Midlands province, was accused of circumventing the public tendering system by ordering rural and urban councils to divert devolution funds to pay for fire engines from a Belarusian company owned by Zingman.
The murky arrangement, which Moyo said was a “government-to-government” agreement, could cost the councils over US$32 million.
The deal did not go to tender. The fire engines were being marketed by Zingman’s AFRATRADE DMCC and manufactured by a Belarusian company, LLC Pozhsnab.
Following a public outcry over the deal, the government has not stated further details, but the City of Harare and other local authorities have made it clear they are unhappy with the arrangement.
Zimbabwe’s bilateral cooperation with Belarus involves supplies of trucks, buses and mining vehicles and equipment, tractors and foodstuffs amid prospects of joint projects in agriculture, construction, energy, mining and exploration, and transportation, as well as in education and health.