President Michael Sata Thursday bemoaned the effects of what he called illegal sanctions imposed on Zimbabwe by Western countries.
He also supported the land reform programme, saying the liberation struggle would have been in vain had land remained in the hands of a few, according to the Herald newspaper of Zimbabwe.
President Sata said Zimbabwe’s economy could perform much better without the illegal sanctions.
He made the remarks during a tour of Dairibord Zimbabwe Limited.
“Zimbabwe is surviving under harsh conditions because of sanctions. If there were no sanctions, they (Dairibord) would do very much better than this.”
Sata said entrepreneurs in Zambia had a lot to learn from Dairibord.
“We need to get some of those people to come and see how their friends are doing here,” he said.
He pledged to create business for Dairibord in Zambia.
According to the Herald, President Sata was in a jovial mood and cracked jokes throughout his tour.
On noticing Deputy Prime Minister Professor Arthur Mutambara’s name and signature in Dairibord’s visitors’ book, he said: “Mutambara was Acting Prime Minister, where was the Prime Minister? Why was he acting PM?”
Sata later toured Tyron Farm in Mashonaland East Province owned Cde Noah Mangondo where he threw his weight behind the country’s agrarian reforms.
“You should not be cheated, the whole world survives on land. America is what it is because of land. The fight for Zimbabwe would have been in vain if land did not go back to where it belonged.”
President Sata was addressing people gathered at the farm to welcome him.
“This is the first country we are paying a State visit because we think like you people,” he said.
“Pamberi naJongwe,” a feast-waving President Sata said.
He urged farmers to put land allocated to them to good use.
Mashonaland East Governor and Resident Minister Aeneas Chigwedere said contrary to reports in the international media that farms allocated to blacks were lying idle, Zimbabweans were fully utilising the land.
“We are here to show you what some of us are able to do to utilise the land,” he said.
“When you are out there you are told that former white-owned farms are lying derelict but this is evidence that a lot is happening. Africans are closely attached to their land.”
President Sata also toured the National Heroes Acre in Harare accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Simbarashe Mumbengegwi.
He laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and commended Zimbabwe for according its heroes a proper burial.
“It is a good idea to remember those who lost their lives in the struggle,” President Sata said.
“It is encouraging that in all of Africa, it is only Zimbabwe and Namibia that have Heroes Acres.”
President Sata said some people were enjoying the benefits of independence out of sacrifices made by Zimbabwe’s gallant sons and daughters.
He recognised a number of heroes buried at the national shrine, including Cdes Herbert Chitepo, Samuel Parirenyatwa, Julia Zvobgo and Mark Dube.
“Some of the people buried here I saw them physically,” he said.
When he reached the grave of Zanla Commander General Josiah Tongogara, he quipped: “Everybody feared him.”
President Sata cracked jokes while touring the National Heroes Acre.
On realising that there were more male heroes than females buried at the national shrine, he jokingly said: “This is discrimination. We need more women to die.”