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Culture of do the least, earn the most

Tuesday February 16 2021
ndugai pic
By Kasera Nick Oyoo

The Speaker of the National Assembly thinks we are producing too many idle youth or to be more precise, too many of our youth are idle - and the unsaid thing here is that they are idle out of choice.
Let’s just say that Hon Job Yustino Ndugai is right on one instance and not correct on another.
Speaker Ndugai is right that there are many seemingly idle youth. But your favourite columnist thinks there are other angles to youth idleness. In fact, even the youth at workplaces are largely delivering below capacity.
Please throw no stones in your columnist’s - way unless you are armed with data that backs a position that is of the opposite view. In my humble opinion, we have a national disaster in waiting, if it has not already cost the nation many years in growth potential.
The national disaster was started way back in the 1960s at independence when we were promised that as a free country, “milk and honey,” would be flowing. For political reason, also known as expediency, citizens were promised “freedom unlimited,” in which the aforesaid milk and honey would flow against little or no work, since the “Bazungu were creaming it off us.”
If you add these to the popular music of that period that promised Vijana wasome mwisho watapata kazi nzuri (get education for an assured white collar job), the nation has been living a lie for nearly 60 years.
With increased numbers of graduates with degrees from exponential growth of Universities created for political reasons, Mr Ndugai is speaking openly what other politicians are murmuring quietly, but there it is, we are sitting on a youth unemployment time bomb.
We, therefore, have a huge unemployment problem, but we have an even bigger pseudo-employment  challenge. In my terminology, ‘pseudo-employment is the case where individuals who are tasked with a responsibility - in this case employed - deliver less than 75 percent of the capability.’
The trouble with pseudo-employment is that on the surface it looks like the real deal, but it is the service or product that should be provided with that ends up suffering from lack of application by the employee.
Look at it from the sports perspective - more so football where we claim to be champions-in-waiting every year. For footballers to become stars, they need more than talent. They require dedication, application, fitness, a training regime and - most of all: self-driven desire to be the best.
In Tanzania, we tell ourselves the utmost lie every day - and you only have to be up and about, plus visit social media platforms, to see how this national tragedy of laissez-faire hurts us.
That’s where Mr Ndugai, in my view, is right. Yet, he is wrong on blaming it on the youth - given that it is a culture that we have handed over from one generation to another to this date; a culture of wanting to do the least - and benefit the most!
It is not rocket science, since researchers point out  our lack of application to the standards that would make a difference.
Many times I ask myself: why is it that many Tanzanians who owned businesses did not advertise to international standards? Why is it that many of our products are packaged haphazardly? Why do Tanzanian producers feel very strongly that, a product of Tanzania is enough reason for customers to buy?
Look around you: from juices, bottled water, books to alcoholic beverages, even services such as banks and tourist sites. All that the marketers do is run to Joti and Walla. Do they feel they are doing  justice to the market?
It may be a good idea that these brands are raking in millions. But, as is, they cannot sell beyond our borders. Apparently even our human resource tends to find it difficult - and I am over-generalising here - to work beyond the borders where patriotism is not the only qualification.
Don’t get me wrong. We have many good ambassadors out there. But, for our population, our modest remittances seem to rely heavily on low-cadre employees in southern Africa than any other.