Zimbabweans need to stop fighting over who will drive us into the future


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We are not short of challenges and my problem is maintaining perspective. When I feel down about things here – the lack of urgency in implementing the obvious solutions to problems, the lack of concern about plummeting living standards for ordinary people, the near total lack of employment opportunities. Then I just say to myself, thank God for what we have and for our own security and standard of life. I am a convinced Christian – I did not inherit my faith from my forebears but came to Christ by conviction. This helps me keep a perspective on the things that go on around me, I know there is much more to life than the physical realities.

This past week has been no different, SI 142 has done what was intended – the exchange rate has fallen by 50 per cent and stabilized at about 8 to 1. The winter weather has been more or less normal – bright blue skies, warm days with no humidity, chilly nights and those marvelous early mornings with dew on the grass and the sun rising in the east. Forget the sunsets and the early rising full moons, massive and yellow in the west, early morning with a cup of hot coffee takes a lot to beat. Anyone who has lived here knows the feeling of an early morning on the Highveld.

But it does not stop there – two children controlling traffic where the lights are not working. Zimbabweans going about their daily lives, complaining about no money, high prices and the obvious wealth of the corrupt and the connected, but always friendly and open to a quick chat on the street. This is a magical place to live if you can make a living in one way or another. Our economy defies analysis; I laugh when I read the experts trying to understand how we survive. There are no rational explanations, less than 10 per cent of our population is in paid employment, we import more than we export but never build external debt, we run a fiscal deficit of 40 per cent of all State expenditure, creating in the process a mountain of domestic debt almost equal to our GDP and the new Minister slaps a transaction tax on us and tightens the controls on all State expenditure and we are in surplus in six weeks. How does that work?

The answer is that we ‘make a plan’. We have lived under a lousy, self-involved Government ever since I can remember and we have suffered under sanctions imposed on us by everyone since 1965. We have learned to be fast on our feet and to respond quickly to new problems and never looking to the State for anything except demands for our taxes. We deserve better but we do not waste time complaining or moaning about how badly off we are. I was at breakfast yesterday with two friends from Bulawayo and the place was packed, every table occupied.

What does frustrate me, and I guess I am not alone, is that there are solutions to all our problems. Zimbabwe is like a vehicle with a large engine that is starved of fuel, needs a tuning and the replacement of all its filters. It needs new tyres and to stop fighting over who will drive us into the future. The passengers need to agree on where we are going and then get on with getting there. The Bible says that ‘a people, without vision, will die’ and a ‘house divided, cannot stand’ ancient words of wisdom from the very roots of our culture and faith. We need to follow their advice closely.

But mainly, as we struggle to survive and even thrive in a tough environment, let’s keep our problems in perspective and not lose faith in who we are as a people and a country and in our God who makes all things possible.

Eddie Cross
Harare, 27th July 2019

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Charles Rukuni
The Insider is a political and business bulletin about Zimbabwe, edited by Charles Rukuni. Founded in 1990, it was a printed 12-page subscription only newsletter until 2003 when Zimbabwe's hyper-inflation made it impossible to continue printing.

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