Zimbabwean President Emmerson Mnangagwa on Wednesday received military hardware from China in what could open gates for further Chinese military expansion in the Southern African region.
The equipment includes armoured fighting vehicles, personnel carriers, ambulances, motorised water purifiers, patrol boats, minibuses, sniper rifles, machine guns and hand pistols.
The donation was presented to the President at Inkomo Mechanized Brigadeby the Chinese Ambassador to Zimbabwe, who spoke highly of the historical ties between the two countries. The President thanked the Chinese Government saying China has been a reliable and consistent friend.
Chinese official in July this year, announced that his country is committed to supporting Zimbabwe’s military as the friendship between the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) and Zimbabwe Defense Forces (ZDF) deepens.
Speaking at the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) 96th Anniversary Celebration hosted in Harare, Defense Attaché of the Chinese Embassy senior Colonel Yonglong Zhu said the PLA supported international cooperation and worked towards a better world of peace and shared security.
Colonel Yanglong said, “The traditional friendship between the People’s Liberation Army and Zimbabwe Defense Forces was fostered by the founding fathers of the two countries in the 1960s and has always been cherished and constantly promoted by the two sides over the past decades.”
The colonel stressed the growing bonhomie between the two countries, especially in recent years. He observed in his speech, “The recent years have witnessed this brotherly relationship further strengthened with friendly exchanges and cooperation in all fields flourishing.”
“Especially during the pandemic, the two armies did not interrupt any cooperation and exchanges, have actively overcome the interference of the pandemic, and continue to advance the development of the relationship between the two armies,” he added.
Zimbabwe has also applied to join the BRICS New Development Bank (NDB), of which China is also a part.
As reported by Xinhua, President of Zimbabwe Emmerson Mnangagwa is banking on Russia’s support for its admission into the bank, which was established jointly by Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa.
The development comes in the wake of concerns that the African continent, which has traditionally relied on Russia for military support, braces for a period of uncertainty due to the ongoing Ukraine war. China has the perfect opportunity to push with its military investments, arms sales, and security cooperation agreements.
With historical links dating back to the anti-colonial liberation struggles of the 1950s and 1960s, Russia provides just under half of the military hardware in Africa. Troops are trained, weapons are sold, and mercenaries are sent out as the cornerstones of security assistance.
Although reports published earlier this year suggested that countries in the West African region, including Nigeria and Equatorial Guinea, were among those tilting towards China for military support, Zimbabwe in the southern African region seems to be following suit.
The concerns about China’s expansion in the African region are also exacerbated by the possibility of Beijing acquiring basing rights in the countries by the massive capital they could offer under the Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), besides the security agreements and military sales.
See the pictures below: