Looking inward could be hard to do, given our past historical experiences. That experience, in some ways, has pushed Africans into looking outwards for justification of our circumstances. While I could make a good political speech in an African setting by blaming everything on Westerners, I would only be fooling myself by taking such a route. I think it is about time for Tanzanians to have a paradigm change. Lets have a new attitude. Lets do the best from within and then we could be justified to blame some robbers from the West.
Unless we change our mentality, I will continue to challenge and question the intelligence behind a Tanzanian president getting his regular health check-up in Germany instead of building top-notch hospitals in Tanzania. I will continue to cry for change in our thinking unless Tanzanian leaders will get it in their heads that buying expensive cars before building good roads is plain stupid.
Seriously, I am passionate about a change in attitude and mindset. I strongly believe that this will open doors we never imagined.
Despite the fact that a change in attitude is needed, I believe that another key ingredient that is required for true progress is desire. So what’s this thing called desire? My Google search for the meaning of the word revealed that desire is the feeling that accompanies an unsatisfied state. In essence, desire is to covet, to earnest wish for. To desire something, one has to passionately long for it and not casually.
The following quote came from my pastor and I liked it because it is right on the money: There are things that we wish for in our lives that will never come to pass until we are desperate enough to earnestly desire for them. It’s the heart’s desire that will fuel passion in you, and passion will overcome obstacles.
As the quote above indicates, there are two things that having a desire for something will bring up: passion and the ability to withstand and eventually overcome obstacles. Looking at the definition of the word and what desire can bring in us, I seriously doubt whether Tanzanians (generally speaking) have a desire to eradicate poverty. I doubt that because we appear to lack neither the drive nor the passion for change.
I know this is a call for self-introspection and it might rub some folks the wrong way (based on my past experiences as some folks would rather find a scapegoat than take personal responsibility), but I believe it is about time we look inside and question whether we, as Tanzanians have the right mind, attitude and a true desire for change. I am challenging that because we do plenty of things very casually. We do things in a manner that indicates the bora liende mentality.
I hate to do this, but I will go back to the kilimo ni uti wa mgongo wa taifa mantra that Nyerere came up way back to highlight the fact that Tanzanians can be truly be a joke. You can agree with that if more than 80% of the population derives employment from agriculture, there would have been deliberate policies and strategies to make Tanzania the best country in the world when it comes to agriculture. Even true, the drawn strategies would have been fully executed. But you know the story; the issue of pembejeo is still the talk in the Parliament. The reason for this blah blah is because nobody, including Nyerere himself, was passionate enough about developing agriculture. It is a joke that we can the name Tanzania could be synonymous to agriculture, yet we still face hunger.
Folks pursue things they are passionate about. Folks pursue things they desire. Folks give priority to things they desire. Folks become obsessed with their desire. I don’t see such a fight in Tanzania. I don’t see a true hunger for progress. All I see is a country stuck in the mud. I see a country that is passionless. I just see leaders who have given up. I see leaders who are hopeless. I don’t see a burning fire for progress. None.
The sure sign that we don’t have a true desire for progress is we don’t yearn for results. I know someone will scream that Tanzanians do yearn for results. Nonetheless, you could not be serious about results, yet hold nobody accountable for failure to produce. Dr. Msabaha and Richmond, anyone? Folks who desire progress will go to the extent of demanding zero tolerance for stupidity and lack of accountability. But we both know that lack of accountability and doing things that don’t make logical sense is the norm in Tanzania. You know what they will call you in Tanzania if you have high expectations? They will call you a mzungu. They will tell you how your ideas and aspirations are not workable. They will ridicule and laugh at you.
That brings us to another attribute of folks with a true desire. They hardly accept the word impossible. This is a word that easily flows in the lips of Tanzania. We are quick to ask why, but why not. If you have desire for change, you will certainly find ways to solve your problems. But we both know Tanzanians are quick to point fingers and tell you why attaining a certain goal is impossible. Honestly, I sometimes look at the simplest things as snow removal in the United States and wonder: hivi hii ingekuwa Bongo si tungekufa?
The impossible attitude is clearly indicated in the way that the Tanzanian government has recently embarked on the hiring of foreign “consultants” to run Tanzanian companies. I know the issue is somebody’s 10%, but on the other side of the coin, it is an insult to wazalendo Tanzanians are painted as incapable of managerial skills. Worse enough, it is confusing, given the fact that the President promised to create 1 million jobs. It is that bad. But may be it is because we have no sense of urgency (which is another sign of people who have no desire for change). or may be it is because we’d rather celebrate the “No hurry in Africa” crap than quickly change.