ONE outstanding feature about this country’s march towards development is, without doubt, the empowerment of its people.

Time and again, the issues of Land Reform and Resettlement and Economic Empowerment Programmes crop up in many a discussion.

That happens for a reason.

Zimbabwe is a story unravelling.

It is settling, slowly and irrevocably, into the global league of nations, courtesy of a certain section of our society.

That section, our unsung heroes, are the real and true owners of our evergreen narrative.

They are our battle-hardened soldiers at the forefront of the agricultural revolution.

So beautiful a narrative they have created for our great nation.

This narrative, so compelling and so beautiful, is not the propaganda piece that our detractors have so often tried to sell to the world.

It is a reality that has and continues to unravel before the eyes of the world.

It is an underlying fact of our history that cannot be easily wished or washed away.

It is the anchor of our past, present and future.

A narrative whose success will be felt by generations to come.

A story that has been told, is being told and will be told for a long time to come, all for the right reasons.

We revel in that narrative.

Moreso, we take pride in all the good and the beauty that it has brought to the black people of the world.

Significantly, we pay homage to some of the principal drivers of that story.

We are talking about the tobacco farmer who silently tills the land, producing that leaf which not only brings him or her smiles but also relief to the nation.

These are men and women who are nourishing, not just  their pockets but coffers of the nation as well.

Put simply, these men and women are the engine driving our effort to prosperity.

They are the heroines and heroes of our time, our champions in the fight against imperialism and neo-colonialism.

This section of our society is critical to busting the illegal economic sanctions that continue to hinder efforts to revive the economy.

Our tobacco farmers have been at the forefront of fending off attempts to sabotage our economy and weaken our country that we have been experiencing for the past two decades.

They deserve to be honoured, not scorned.

They deserve to be respected, not insulted.

They are not ‘foolish’ people who must be taken advantage of by crooks who want to reap where they did not sow.

They are the champions of this country’s fight against sabotage.

They do not hate their country, they love it.

They do not hate themselves like some in our midst.

They love themselves, their country and its people.

They do not seek redemption from outsiders.

They are aware that progress and development is found in that soil they till and nurture so that it can bring success.

They do not agitate for political office.

Their office is in the land.

Let us all ensure that our tobacco farmers are protected and fully supported to ensure continued production.

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