The Sunday Mail
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!