“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.


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Start: 2019-07-01 End: 2019-07-31