Today on Twitter, someone asked me why Tanzanian government loves emergency power solutions. Now the answer could be that because of that 10% issue. But I also responded that it could be related more tightly to our national consciousness of procrastination.
The definition or explanation on Wikipedia points out that, “procrastination refers to the act of replacing high-priority actions with tasks of low-priority, and thus putting off important tasks to a later time.” In other words it is when you have that urgent deadline to meet and you find yourself playing Solitaire on the computer all day long. Later you work the night through to meet the 8am deadline and feel guilty as you know you had 2 weeks to write the proposal but somehow never got to do it.
The Wikipedia link explains further that, “Some psychologists cite such behavior as a mechanism for coping with the anxiety associated with starting or completing any task or decision. Other psychologists indicate that anxiety is just as likely to get people to start working early as late and the focus should be impulsiveness. That is, anxiety will cause people to delay only if they are impulsive.”
So do we, Tanzania as a nation, procrastinate? Definitely, IMHO! It is something that affects us individually and collectively. We see that in our leaders, when a leader will opt to travel to other countries while tough decisions await solutions and people wait for leadership. We can see the media procrastinate on individual politician’s life or on how much posho MPs get, while not addressing serious issues that require their analysis. We can see the civil servants procrastinate in offices chatting and drinking ‘chai’ while urgent matters pile up. So why do we procrastinate? Are we anxious and stressed to the extent that we are unable to cope? I have no answer but I think it is worth exploring the matter!
If you take this analogy I am sure that you will see how people collectively in your office or in your surrounding procrastinate. I think that is the reason why even in private sector, Tanzanian employees are infamous for not delivering on time and quality or for lacking initiative compared with our ‘aggressive’ neighbors. Yeah, I am aware that there are other factors like education, nutrition etc, but let us factor in this behavior and suddenly it makes more sense.
Let me not say more as I need to get back to meet that deadline which is long overdue.. Cheers!