Difficult times call for tough decisions

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The publication of the draft Constitution by the Attorney General marks the last leg of the Constitution review process.

As a country, we are like Paul Tergat; about to complete a very strenuous marathon with the finishing line in sight.  Any great runner will tell you that the last one hundred metres are the time to stay completely focused on the end of the race.  One cannot afford to lose seconds looking backwards, wiping sweat off the brow or even thinking of what to do with the winnings. 

Instead, runners must visualise themselves second-by-second taking a calculated number of strides ideally meant for a win.  They may even visualise the exhilaration that comes with taking a final leap over the crossing line and awaken an adrenaline rush.  For me, it is that simple. 

Now that the AG has finally received the draft, we know that the wheels of this referendum mechanism are in full gear.  In 30 days, we expect the start of civic education and the pressure is on the Committee of Experts and the Interim Independent Electoral Commission to prove their worth. 

When all is said and done, all that matters is what we do at the crossing line.  We will have two equally difficult choices to make; to vote Yes or No in the referendum.

Mine is to tell you that difficult choices are an integral part of our lives.  Difficult choices are what separate the chaff from the wheat, the ordinary from the extra-ordinary.  They are a core component of the entrepreneurial journey (which I’m well aware of).

If you have a proven weapon that has worked for you during such tough times, then this is the time to unleash it.  If you do not, this is the time to gear up.

The truth be told, life changing decisions are difficult to make for all of us.  We may have worked out the pros and cons of taking a particular stand, but still, we are unable to mobilise ourselves.  We worry about the foreseen and unforeseen consequences and wonder if we will have regrets we cannot live with.

Let us start by acknowledging that we will never have a perfect Constitution.  Secondly, let us realise that our opinion leaders (be they political, civic or religious) all have vested interests.  Their interests may or may not be in sync with your individual interests, especially since they have never conducted any polls to gather your views.

Suzy Welch, a renowned columnist and wife of Jack Welch (former General Electric CEO) has derived an effective formula for decision making that I can attest to.  She advocates for proactive decision-making instead of abdicating our responsibilities.  This requires us to individually make a deliberate effort to consider the consequences of our decisions in 10 minutes, 10 months and 10 years (10-10-10).

Essentially, whatever the straw that breaks your camel’s back (read Kadhis Courts; the abortion or devolution clauses et al) your decision should be based on how you will live with the consequences today, in the medium term and in the future. 

Consider therefore your two choices carefully. 

If you choose to vote ‘No’ in the referendum, you will be binding yourself to the current constitution, for most possibly this and the next political regime.  Will you be able to stomach the consequences of that decision for the next five to 10 years? 

Mine is to urge you to switch off the loud noise.  Place yourself in the worst possible minority scenario (read tribe, religion, region, sex and gender) for the next 10 years and vote in an ‘imperfect draft’ that would serve your needs.

As I said at the beginning, it is that simple for me.  We will be crossing the finishing line very soon; if we don’t pass the new draft law we will be stuck with the old Constitution.

They say that the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step.  I am taking mine…  What will you do?

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