It won’t be easy, but it is doable

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - COMMENT -

AS WE take a breather to­day and to­mor­row, and pre­pare to wel­come the New Year, ob­vi­ously many are al­ready com­pil­ing their New Year’s res­o­lu­tions.

It is to be ex­pected; it is an an­nual rit­ual.

Un­sur­pris­ingly, many will set for them­selves lofty tar­gets, which, again, is to be ex­pected.

There is def­i­nitely noth­ing wrong with this. And when mu­tu­ally ex­chang­ing com­pli­ments of the new sea­son, it is tempt­ing to wish our fam­ily and friends well. But as we tran­si­tion to 2019, the econ­omy will be the ma­jor talk­ing point.

The tail-end of this year, par­tic­u­larly the fourth quar­ter, has been chal­leng­ing, as Trea­sury makes struc­tural ad­just­ments to the econ­omy in or­der to set a solid foun­da­tion for sus­tain­able growth. The sub­se­quent tremors that have been felt in the mar­ket have been in­ter­preted var­i­ously, with cyn­ics be­ing quick to point that the econ­omy is about to fall off the cliff. It will not! But we wish we could tell you that Zim­babwe’s re­cov­ery will be in­stant - it will not. We wish we could tell you that it will be easy - it will not be.

We wish we could also tell you that the pain of tran­si­tion is over - it is not.

Ob­vi­ously, we still have to walk the hard miles.

Some work­ers such as ju­nior doc­tors, who feel the cur­rent squeeze, are restive.

De­spite Gov­ern­ment’s best ef­forts, fuel still re­mains in short sup­ply as de­mand shoots through the roof. Our chal­lenges are many. So, it will def­i­nitely be painful. En­cour­ag­ingly, a lot of progress is be­ing made: we have, for the first time in more than two decades, grossed more than $1 bil­lion in the tourism sec­tor; gold and tobacco pro­duc­tion has reached record ter­ri­tory; and this year’s ex­ports have risen by more than $800 mil­lion com­pared to the same pe­riod last year.

We, how­ever, must con­tinue to make sac­ri­fices. As Pres­i­dent Mnan­gagwa said on mi­croblog­ging site Twit­ter on De­cem­ber 22 : “The sac­ri­fices we make to­day are the foun­da­tions of a bet­ter to­mor­row.” Revo­lu­tion is about pain. Any momentous change in life in­volves pain. Gold is also pu­ri­fied by fire. As has been proven through­out history, chal­lenges breed in­no­va­tion, progress and suc­cess through the in­valu­able life-lessons they im­part.

In a speech to grad­u­ates at Cardi­gan Moun­tain School in New Hamp­shire, USA, on June 3 last year, Chief Jus­tice of the US Supreme court John Roberts could not have put it any bet­ter when he spoke about how chal­lenges are as in­valu­able and in­dis­pens­able as they are in­evitable in life.

“Now, the com­mence­ment speak­ers will typ­i­cally wish you good luck, and ex­tend good wishes to you. I will not do that and I will tell you why.

“From time to time, in the years to come, I hope you will be treated un­fairly, so that you will come to know the value of jus­tice.

“I hope that you will suf­fer be­trayal, be­cause that will teach you the im­por­tance of loy­alty.

“Sorry to say, but I hope that you will be lonely from time to time, so that you don’t take friends for granted,” he said.

He went on: “I wish you bad luck, again, from time to time, so that you will be con­scious of the role of chance in life, and un­der­stand that your suc­cess is not com­pletely de­served, and that the fail­ure of oth­ers is not com­pletely de­served, ei­ther.

“And when you lose, as you will from time to time, I hope, ev­ery now and then, your op­po­nent will gloat over your fail­ure. It is a way for you to un­der­stand the im­por­tance of sports­man­ship.

“I hope you will be ig­nored, so you will know the im­por­tance of lis­ten­ing to oth­ers. And I hope you will have just enough pain to learn com­pas­sion.”

And then the clincher: “Whether I wish these things or not, they are go­ing to hap­pen. And whether you ben­e­fit from them, or not, will de­pend on your abil­ity to see the mes­sage in your mis­for­tunes.”

Put sim­ply, John Roberts tells us that we must take ev­ery­thing that comes our way - both the good and bad - and make the most out of it.

Our suc­cess in 2019 will de­pend on our col­lec­tive ef­fort.

It is time to close ranks and build our beau­ti­ful coun­try. Po­lit­i­cal trib­al­ism, which is now driv­ing some po­lit­i­cal par­ties to wish the coun­try ill in the mis­taken be­lief that the re­sul­tant tide of dis­con­tent will drive them to State House, is fu­tile. It will only slow - but not de­rail - our ef­forts a tad. As the New Year dawns, let us com­mit our­selves that not­with­stand­ing the chal­lenges that lie ahead, we must, just like the Chi­nese, Mau­ri­tians and Sin­ga­pore­ans did, de­ter­minedly put our shoul­ders to the wheel and change our cir­cum­stances.

Let’s look up, Zim­babwe, the fu­ture is bright!

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