BELARUSIAN leader Alexander Lukashenko, not recognised in Europe and the United States after stealing the August 2020 presidential elections, has urged Zimbabwe to cut ties with Western nations, calling them “vagabonds” and “frauds”.
This comes as President Emmerson Mnangagwa is desperately pushing for re-engagement with the Western international community to end isolation and Britain to go back to the Commonwealth.
Speaking through an interpreter while addressing members of the Press at State House, Lukashenko claimed that the West has harmful intentions against Zimbabwe and Belarus. He blamed sanctions imposed on the two countries due to gross human rights abuses.
He also claimed that there is likelihood that Zimbabwe can be re-colonised if it does not resort to a tough stance against the West.
“I always tell my people, I tell you now, use your own minds, think for yourselves. Don’t let the West deceive you or trick you into anything . . .”
“You will see Western nations trying to sow dissension among you, trying to bend you over, to put you on your knees. 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.”
“What you need to do is preserve peace in your country, avoid confrontation that is how you will survive, otherwise you will once again get under colonial rule, don’t let it happen,” he said.
The West and United States contribute the largest foreign aid for Zimbabwe.
Since Zimbabwe’s Independence in 1980, the US government has provided over US$3.5 billion to the people of Zimbabwe, including initiatives to increase food security, support economic resilience, improve health outcomes, and promote democratic governance.
Between 2019 and 2020 alone, the UK’s total aid to Zimbabwe stood at £113.5 million. Lukashenko’s fallout with the West worsened on 17 August 2020 when the members of the European Parliament issued a joint statement which stated that they did not recognise him as the president of Belarus, considering him to be persona non grata in the European Union (EU).
On 19 August 2020, EU member states agreed to not recognise the results and issued a statement saying that the presidential elections were not free and fair.
The governments of the United States, United Kingdom and Canada have also refused to recognise the results.
In an interview on 22 August, Josep Borrell explicitly stated that the EU does not recognise Lukashenko as the legitimate president of Belarus in the same manner that it does not recognise Nicolás Maduro as the legitimate president of Venezuela.
Lukashenko also has ties with Vladimir Putin and is helping the Russian leader progress with his aggression against Ukraine which has attracted condemnation from Western countries.
The Minsk strongman is also unpopular with the West due to his undemocratic practices.
Under the amended Belarusian constitution, if the House of Representatives rejects his choice for prime minister twice, he has the right to dissolve it.
His decrees have greater weight than ordinary legislation. He also has near-absolute control over government spending; Parliament can only increase or decrease spending with his permission.
However, the legislature is dominated by his supporters in any event, and there is no substantive opposition to presidential decisions. Indeed, every seat in the lower house has been held by pro-Lukashenko MPs for all but one term since 2004.
He also appoints eight members of the upper house, the Council of the Republic, as well as nearly all judges.