“Humbleness” – The new buzz word in Zambia

Filed under: Politics,Special Comments |

By Chewe Mubiana

As one walks around the streets of the Capital City Lusaka, there is seemingly a new buzz word in the country. The word is “humble” or “humbleness”.

It appears as though being ‘humble” is synonymous to being “successful”! One gets a nasty feeling in the gut that it is almost as though being humble is a qualification to get into a better job, a better school or even the Presidency of the country.

The word “humbleness” or “humble” is synonymous with the current President of the Republic of Zambia, His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu. On many occasions on the campaign trail before he was narrowly elected as President of the Republic of Zambia, Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu told his supporters that he had no vision and that he was a “humble” person as opposed to his close nemesis Mr. Hakainde Hichilema President of the UPND who was a successful business executive and entrepreneur.

The buzz word “humble” sounded harmless at the time it was being used on the campaign trail. I hasten to add that this buzz word “humble” is worryingly becoming the “in thing” along the streets of Lusaka. People feel that being humble is good. Being humble may lead to success. In fact, it is almost as though being successful at something is wrong. I call this a clear case of ‘the race to the bottom”. What does humble really mean? In what context should this humbleness be a virtue and not a vice? In my view, humbleness becomes a virtue if a person is successful but modest, unassuming and meek. In my view, humbleness becomes a vice if a person by reason of poverty of lack of knowledge is unable to do certain things.

Here is my worry. What would happen when someone is invited to attend an interview for a job and they become “humble”? Is this a virtue or a vice? Conversely, what happens when a person attends a job interview and they articulate who they are and why they are best for the position? Does that mean that such a candidate for the job becomes arrogant and pompous? As a Christian Nation, how are we supposed to interpret the scriptures from the Holy Bible such as 1 Peter 5:6 which says “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you…” or Matthew 23:12 which says “Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.”? Does it mean that we must all be of poor articulation of issues and just be humble? Do we have to start teaching our children not to excel at school and become humble?

I am not too sure this is what God want from us. Looking for humbleness in leaders won’t bring the price of mealie-meal down or the runaway inflation to manageable levels. The issue about humbleness must be contextualised to ensure that we do not celebrate mediocrity or ineptitude in the guise of humbleness.

We must all humble ourselves before God! I do not need to be humble to my opponent on the football pitch. I do not need to be humble to my competitor in a 100meters race. Yes, Zambia does not need to have a humble President in the midst of poverty and deprivation! Humbleness must not be a buzz word in Zambia. Humbleness means failure. Humbleness means ineptitude. Humbleness means mediocrity! We need to exalt excellence and success. We need to encourage our children to aim for the best and be the best.


5 Responses to “Humbleness” – The new buzz word in Zambia

  1. When my indian boss shouts at me,ill just be humble starting from today!!

    February 24, 2015 at 9:05 am

  2. Interesting article! All who oppose it are supporters of Lungu. In Zambia today, it’s simplicity that matters and Lungu is said to be a simple man. Lungu is simple so he must not address the country’s challenges. HH is proud of his knowledge so whether he can solve the country’s problems will not win him votes. Even the poor themselves are simple people so they want a simple President to wallow in poverty with.

    February 24, 2015 at 11:27 am

  3. Humility (humbleness) has nothing to do with your economic status!

    There are two FUNDAMENTAL Problems with the majority of Zambians today and until these problems are sorted out, we shall continue in this dilemma and paradox of mediocre leadership which is wrongly premised on the criteria of “humbleness”:

    1. Poverty – strangely our people have taken a peculiar liking for poverty. Zambians enjoy to be poor and to be pitied. They also don’t like to relate to anyone who is rich, they feel insulted to be in the presence of someone who is doing well…they just fail to connect with anyone who is rich, they developed a complex in this regard. That is why the Western world is happy to see Africans poor because Africans themselves are happy to be poor. To tell an African that you can get out of poverty is an insult because they don’t believe so! So, as long as Zambians remain poor, they will never want to put someone into leadership who can get them out of poverty because that would be a subtraction to them!

    2. Illiteracy – The level of illiteracy in Zambia is so high that it is so difficult to meaningfully engage Zambians on issues of development, good governance (Constitution), economics, etc. In fact an educated person is perceived by majority of our people as an alien, someone very pompous, someone lacking humility! It is very difficult for the majority of Zambians to connect with someone educated…they developed an inferiority complex. So as long as illiteracy remains high in this country, it will be next to impossible to people like HH to be acceptable in terms of national leadership!

    This the tragedy we have in this country! I know I will be criticized on what I have said above BUT it is the truth!

    When you compare HH and Lungu in terms of leadership qualities, HH is by far the best and yet people would rather go for Lungu for the very reasons I have outlined above. HH is able to articulate on issues of economic development, governance, etc far much better than Lungu (and that is the reason Lungu was advised not attend the public debate). When it comes to who is doing well economically, again HH is by far ahead of Lungu. When HH says your children will be educated freely up to university level, people are saying it is not possible because they don’t believe that it is possible since they couldn’t achieve that!

    When HH says the economy can be better managed, someone says it is impossible to turn around this economy because they lack knowledge…they will even label HH as being arrogant and not humble. Humility in Zambia is synonymous with being poor and uneducated!

    Headman Kagoli - Monze District
    February 24, 2015 at 12:34 pm

  4. Chewe Mubiana & Headman Kagoli, you make reading and interaction on these sites/blogs REALLY MEANINGFUL because they make one think and learn something. But our friends from the other camp will always disturb the good rhythm with unreasonable comments.

    February 24, 2015 at 4:13 pm

  5. HH’s arrogance is even noticeable on his photo, his bitterness is easily discernible in his voice. Makamaka pride, iliko bad ba HH mwe. Arrogant people never make good leaders.

    HH azinama!
    February 24, 2015 at 10:15 pm

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