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Niko kwa jam: How lack of time management affects productivity of Kenyans

By Winnie Onyando September 12th, 2023 2 min read

Punctuality is a value cherished by numerous leaders and high achievers across various fields, often seen as a sign of respect and responsible time management. However, in Kenya, it’s more than just a lifestyle choice.

A section of Kenyans tend to view time and appointments through the lens of convenience rather than as commitments.

They arrive when it suits them, rather than adhering to the expected schedule. Excuses and the attribution of lateness to ‘African time’ only exacerbate the issue, as individuals often avoid taking accountability or offering apologies for their tardiness.

Instead, they tend to believe it is their prerogative to arrive late to important meetings and casually apologize because they are Africans and African time caught up with them.

While some may appear to grasp the issue, it remains a widespread problem, with even leaders contributing to it.

Many leaders in Kenya promise to be punctual but often arrive hours later, unconsciously attributing their lateness to ‘African time.’

In some instances, government officials have been excluded from crucial meetings due to their habitual tardiness.

While social media users may express their frustration, this issue runs deeper and affects the entire nation.

While a few may have legitimate reasons for their lateness, many are habitually late without a valid excuse.

This attitude particularly affects bereaved families, as politicians often engage in lengthy politicking at funerals, causing mourners to wait for their arrival.

It’s only fair to respect the deceased and arrive promptly.

Public transportation in Kenya also tends to disregard punctuality, with passengers waiting for extended periods for late arrivals.

Complaints or concerns from passengers are often met with insults from the crew, who seem to consider wasting passengers’ time as their prerogative.

Unlike Western public transportation systems, which prioritize adherence to schedules, Kenya’s transportation system often prioritizes profit over punctuality. Despite Nairobi’s claims of development, traffic congestion wastes a significant amount of productive time for employees, who rob their employers of the human capital yet many still want to be paid their full salary.

The need for improved time management principles to promote further development and enhance Nairobi’s appeal as a capital city.

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