Sunday, April 14, 2024

May the generation after us excel where we have failed


Professor Kenneth Mwenda
Professor Kenneth Mwenda

By Professor Kenneth Mwenda

Perhaps, my greatest weakness is to do things the difficult way because I do not believe in shortcuts. As a young man, I knew that even though I had graduated from Bar school (ZIALE) in Zambia as the best graduating student, joining a law firm would not give me much satisfaction intellectually. I, thus, chose a difficult path of earning a meagre salary of less than one-third of what my friends in law firms were getting, as I took up a competitive academic appointment at the University of Zambia. It was about personal sacrifice. And I was not discouraged at all. My goals were not about making money, but about enlightenment.

I then ended up at Oxford through another highly competitive and difficult route – the Rhodes Scholarship. Later, I was told by many Zambians abroad that it was almost impossible for an African boy, especially in my field, to teach at any British university. Again, I took the difficult path with no precedent from home to chart a new path for others to follow. I landed an academic position at the University of Warwick, one of the top ten (10) British universities. I was only twenty-six (26) years old. Thereafter, my intellectual curiosity continued to urge me to look into the United Nations system. At the same time, I wanted to continue with my academic career.

So, I took another difficult choice to aim for the best Law School in the USA, Yale Law School, through another highly competitive and prestigious scholarship. At the same time, I had heard that the Young Professionals Program (YPP) at the World Bank was arguably the most competitive and coveted route for a career at that institution. So, I aimed for both Yale Law School and the World Bank, and both doors opened. For some reason, I often found myself not on the easy path, but on a path less traversed by many. In Washington DC, I became the second black Zambian professional at the World Bank after Dr Shimwaayi Muntemba, an elderly lady who had taught at the University of Zamia before my time. For my generation (i.e. among Zambians), I was breaking new ground.

And so, even when it was clear that no Zambian had ever obtained a higher doctorate in any field, and that the award of a higher doctorate in law had never been conferred on anyone in the entire rich history of Rhodes University, I went for it. At 39 years only, I obtained my higher doctorate in law from Rhodes University. History was being written. We are arguably not more than 10 to 12 senior legal scholars from and within Commonwealth Africa who hold a higher doctorate in law. It was, and remains, Zambia’s first higher doctorate in any discipline.

I continued to write scholarly work in my free time, culminating in another distinguished award. Five years later, I obtained my second higher doctorate, breaking my own national record. This time around, it was in economic sciences from the University of Hull in the United Kingdom. Indeed, I had by then written what by any Zambian standard remains an unprecedented record of scholarly books and journal articles. Despite my young age, I was defying the odds and doing things. I also found myself holding concurrent academic appointments at leading universities in the USA and South Africa. It can be very demanding on one’s time, but like I said, my greatest weakness is perhaps in doing things the difficult way. To this day, I am not aware of any legal scholar who holds two higher doctorates in two different disciplines in any part of the English-speaking world (i.e. including Europe and elsewhere). Perhaps, my greatest weakness is to do things the difficult way.


    • Well done! That’s all I can say. We are all taking the difficult route. The difference is that yours is academic

    • Hey Prof … what are you trying to say here?? I was looking for what it is our next generation would have to achieve that we have failed to and I found none.

      We are all accomplished in our own ways so, next time stick to the subject matter and not just tell us what you have achieved.

      We would like to see more what you are doing or intend to do to make this place a better place than you found it using your difficult path in life.

      That’s what really matters … natotela.

    • Why is BR Mumba JUNIOR tempering with the thumbs up …really laughable…we know you feel dwarfed by the Professor’s educational background compared to your Meridian BIO loot funded scholarship!!

    • What de fukc!??
      Sounds like a failure. Stick to one or 2 jobs for life, why up there and there.. sucrifice what? What sacrifice did you make to Zambians?
      I thought we finally found a good Zambian Minister of Justice since George Kunda died?
      What de fukc was I reading?

    • @Gay Gay … looks you missed me, ka? Boyi this is 2019 and I ain’t got time to compare notes with anyone.

      I will be 50 this year and so my focus is all about what I do that will have an impact on my 2 grandsons and other grandchildren to come.

      Your Prof here ain’t got nothing to write home about thus the self-praise. I was looking for what we need to do differently and none, I found!!!

      I don’t see anything hard he has done that any of us here in our own rights haven’t achieved; each one in our own version. BTW … ain’t nothing to do with thumbs up or down. Talk to LT about that!!!

      @Nostra … You’re the best!!

    • That’s true, it’s not making any sense at all. Even Sanchez, a footballer earning £500,000.00 a week has taking a difficult route.

    • Please spare the man. He is mourning aba fyashi ( mum). Naimwe ba KKM namukula nomba. It’s time to display some wisdom and restraint in Facebook life and aggrandizement. In the meantime my condolences to the family on the death of the Matriarch. But biggerup to your academic strides.

    • In the eyes of KKM generation I don’t know whether this is self advertising or blowing one’s own trumpet. However, tje younger generation should take a cue and be inspired by my old university days fellow student. I find the PHDs (pull him/her down syndrome ) depressingly nauseating. We cannot all pursue money, usually corruptly gained or otherwise. Prof Mwenda is living vessel of knowledge. We as a country need to be proud of his achievements and ought to be looking at tapping into such a rich reservoir of knowledge. The correct application of academia/theories with practice almost always produces outstanding results. I am an applied scientist /engineer and manager in industry. I wish I could think of how to tap into prof Mwenda’s knowledge. Prof please look to other…

    • CONTINUED: professionals to explore collaborations with. Word of advise though; stay well clear of politicians and their henchmen. Inspite of education they all seem to fail to think and act like educated people. They become cadres. Prof Clive Chirwa can brief you on his experience in trying to serve our motherland via political appointments. Good luck and God bless you abundantly.

    • Kenneth Mwenda cant finish a sentence without letting you know that he was a Rhodes scholar, went to Oxford, went to Yale, works for world bank lives in the US and that he wears Louis Vuitton bags, blah blah blah. Please Prof Mwenda, leave that kind of content to your followers on FB. There are no

    • Kenneth Mwenda is not from Southern Province or Eastern Province. This good friend of mine who I was in the same class with in first year at UNZA in 1986 is nephew to late Professor Mwelwa Musambachime. He hails from Luapula. I personally have no problem with him as I get along very well with him. But as many people have pointed out to me and as many bloggers have commented, he needs to tone down on his self-praise. A lot of people abhor this. I hope my friend Kenny can draw some lessons from some of the comments on this site. Otherwise, he is a good human being who has achieved a lot academically and professionally. Boyi Kenn,y kanshi ukaleka lilali self-marketing?

    • Ati bushe nifilya batila ululumbi lwa mulanda kukakata? It reminds me of those days of ubuchushi in the
      Kaunda days. My good friend Kenny was a rasta man. He would, whilst clad in his track suit, put his big radio-cum-cassette recorder on his shoulder and walk from UNZA’s ruins to the October hostels, as if to show ati abena Ken paliba indimba.

    • It is good for Prof. Mwenda to tell us about his achievement. Though, he would also do well to read about the achievements of other Zambians to help him remain firmly grounded. One such Zambian is Pofessor Kelly Chibale of the University of Cape Town. As Wikipedia documents, Kelly Chibale PhD, FRSSAf, FRSC (born 1967) is professor of organic chemistry at the University of Cape Town, and the founder and director of H3D research center. In 2018 he was recognized as one of Fortune magazine’s top 50 World’s Greatest Leaders.[1][2] He researches target-directed inhibitors.

    • More info about Professor Chibale:
      Following his PhD at Cambridge, Chibale joined the University of Liverpool as a Sir William Ramsay British Research Fellow. He developed optically active alcohols using lanthanides. In 1994 he joined the Scripps Research Institute, creating complicated natural molecules from organic building blocks. He began to explore angiogenesis inhibitors, which can be used to stop cancer cells developing new blood vessels. Inspired by medicinal chemistry, Chibale returned to Africa in 1996, joining the research group of James Bull. In 2002 he joined the University of California, San Francisco as a Sandler Foundation Fellow. He was elected a Professor in 2007 and a Life Fellow of the University of Cape Town in 2009. His group studies treatments for HIV, cancer,…

    • … malaria and hypertension. He set up collaborations and exchange programs for South African students to learn how to translate basic science into potential products. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of South Africa in 2009. In 2010 he founded H3D, the first drug discovery centre at the University of Cape Town.The research program received significant media attention and has been supported by Bill Gates. In 2008 he took a sabbatical, working as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Pennsylvania and Pfizer. In 2012 Chibale’s group discovered MMV390048, an aminopyridine compound that can be used as a single-dose treatment for malaria. It was the first antimalarial medicine to enter phase 1 human studies in Africa. In 2016 they discovered another antimalarial compound,…

    • In 2016 they discovered another antimalarial compound, UCT943. He has written for The Conversation about how Africa’s medicinal drug research can paved the landscape for health innovation in the continent.Today he holds a Chair of Drug Discovery at the University of Cape Town. In 2018 H3D partnered with Merck & Co. to build Africa’s capacity for research. In 2016 the Royal Society of Chemistry recognised him as one of their 175 Faces of chemistry.He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry in 2014.

  1. Tumbukas and tongas they like boasting for nothing.

    Questions still follows you. What have you done for the country and your relatives in lundazi North?

    • I just read his name that didn’t cross my mind what tribe he is …but to rotten retrogressive empty tins of today’s Zambia like you that is what the read first!!

    • Mwenda contact me if need a teaching job. UPND have already Minister of Justice. My part-time Community College always has opportunity for people like me and you who adventurous.
      Adventure is not about sacrifice or “difficult path”.
      Anyway I feel you that you have done nothing, while your former classmate is president now.

  2. Greatest man of all time. Very smart man. Thank you for your encouragement. You did it and let young Zambia follow the path.

  3. Dr.Mweenda, thanks for an inspirational article.What was missing was your family background.My guess is you may have come from humble background and if there was no free education your brains would have worst.I am grateful been beneficiary of same.Zambia needs to follow Ghana,Liberia, Tanzania in free education.

  4. Great piece but the headline is misplaced as you have not failed yourself …so it may come across the wrong way to others just imagine you invited people to this chat about this headline and you started talking about your achievements?

  5. I salute you Kenny – From comments posted so far, this is the reason Zambia is poor because the general populace including our leaders despise knowledge. Successive Zambian governments don’t respect professionals except when they are in court facing criminal charges, then they need a lawyer. Western civilization was built on decades of research and China is performing industrial espionage to steal years of western research. You are an inspiration.

    • Point of correction. Ken is not a professional but academic. Please learn to differentiate. Academics are a disaster in industry. In industry, we use academics for research and not masters of the ship. It’s only in Africa where we think academics should steer the ship. Look at Nigeria, total disaster.

    • We need more of such
      Exactly what is your point?That we despise Ken?If Ken is wrong he is wrong,and i think he is wrong in the way he comes out here,i hope he was drunk.Look at the heading then read the article,it is just a work of personal aggrandizement.I would rather someone else comes to me praising Ken,not Ken blowing his own ka trumpet,that is just so silly,and childish…

  6. I guess Dr. Mwenda has not heard of Dr. Brad Bradshaw, so here is the data about Brad Bradshaw; he holds a JD(Doctor of Jurisprudence) and MD(Doctor of Medicine). While your professional and scholarly accomplishments are impressive, you are not the first to achieve them nor are you the last.

  7. Congratulations but WHAT IS THE POINT IS PROF.KENNETH MWEENDA TRYING TO EXPRESS HERE?I really cant get the point.Yes,he is very educated,then what?Stophira Sunzu(footballer),a G9 school drop out is far much richer than this man.GBM,a Kaponya is equally rich than this Prof.Mwenda.To many Zambians,what matters most is how much money education has given you,if not then you better just keep quiet Sir!!Higher education with an empty account is nothing badala…this is the harsh reality for you.YES,YOU ENJOY LIFE IN DEVELOPED COUNTRIES,THEN WHAT?You need to invest in your Village in Chikankata Sir than trotting across the global.Send your rich CV to HH so that he may appoint you as PS once UPND forms Govnt in 2099!!!

    • No wonder you are PF disciple, it’s all about money, the people who spend time researching to produce medicines, technologies are not driven by money but the ever lasting contributions to mankind and their names get remembered for ages. Remain a leech, sucking blood everywhere with no ounce of morality.

  8. I dare say, it is not taking the difficult path that is your weakness. Your greatest weakness is lack of modesty.

  9. Very misleading headline professor. Are you sure that was your main story or got mixed up on the way writing. Visit home to clear your mind, some of us do that very often. Thanks

  10. I wonder where someone who failed even a mere grade 12 Certificate is getting the odersity or rather guts to insult and hail derogatory remarks to such a an intellect, some of His achievement are still unbeaten. See this our generation…!
    I’m really inspired by this article as in big time, you are indeed true Son of your father and of the soil.. Be blessed in all your future endeavours professor…!

  11. Njimbu point of correction,the author is Mwenda probably from East north of Zambia (present day,Lundazi north) He is not hauling from South part of Zambia.

  12. @Richard. No doubt the achievements are highly appreciated and who wouldn’t die for that, the point is the headline and the story which don’t seem to match. Zambia is going through tough times and we are at the urge where we need fresh minds and ideas and most of us was looking at what ideas has he brought forward to the current failures we are facing. Remember people are desperate and dying for a better Zambia. Thanks.

    • This Njimbu is just a scumbag, eating at the table, a guy who doesn’t understand knowledge comes and came before money is just typical of the corrupt, irrational, greedy mindset he represents. This is a guy who talks about 6.5 against 3.5 but had not got the brains and sincerity to accept the 13,000 difference in votes. The sad thing is these fools are not taken on because most others are busy making a living based on decency and not ass licking as this very smart man without principles.

  13. Clear an academically accomplished man but as a young person looking to break ground, this piece came off as rather narcissistic. Very misleading title and I would implore the author to contextualize and give us something we can learn from in future. For example, how has your experience resulted in you making a meaningful contribution or not to Zambia´s advancement? What lessons can we draw from your experience in Int orgs or academia in the western world?

  14. We appreciate your achievements but point of correction, you are not the first Zambian to hold a higher doctorate and you do not remain the only Zambian. Do a bit of research and you will be surprised.

  15. @Ba Robbie – Your attitude stinks, please don’t give shallow lectures on how to differentiate between an academic and a professional. Further, could you please avoid semantics on this important subject because that is the same useless attitude that has seen 60% of Zambians living in abject despite the country being rich in natural resources. The point I raised earlier was valid; the Zambian government does not respect its own professionals and this is evident in the way all major civil engineering are contracted to the Chinese.

  16. @Ba Robbie – Your attitude stinks, please don’t give shallow lectures on how to differentiate between an academic and a professional. Further, could you please avoid semantics on this important subject because that is the same useless attitude that has seen 60% of Zambians living in abject poverty despite the country being rich in natural resources. The point I raised earlier was valid; the Zambian government does not respect its own professionals and this is evident in the way all major civil engineering works are contracted to the Chinese.

  17. Does that sound familiar, mushota part 2 at it again. Typical black man bragging attitude, could have been better if spent all those years doing charity work for the needy than striving for personal achievements to gratify yourself. Your writing doesn’t come across as somebody holding all those academic qualifications.

  18. Dr mweenda i watch you on strainght talk africa continue representing zambia. Hope to follow in your foot step in my field

  19. No doubt you might have written an economics book titled freedom of speech going by your heading in the above article.

  20. I have sat down to chat with Kenneth before and all he talks about is how successful he is.
    I have come across people who are several times more accomplished than him and not a single hint of bragging about their accomplishments.

    • Jealous Mune. Which are those people? That CV for KKM is unbelievable. Your friend is a Senior Legal Counsel at WB nga iwe

    • Popolyongo
      The traits that the Professor here presents are called “narcicissm”,it is actually a psychological state of mind in which one tends to admire onself to extremes.Am sure if you followed his life you would discover that he has a fair share of people who dislike him,it is only human nature for people who tend to flaunt their worth to be disliked…

    • @mafikizolo,,, Really, I would like to see that DVD, Trust me this man has discovered that he wasted his time earning Phds, while his friends were buying land in lusaka and are even sending him some Talk Time, He has a physiological issue.

      It might be that he has seen his failures but trying to comfort himself with ” I am the most educated from my Generation after all”

  21. Are you eulogizing yourself good Doctor? Ukutemwa ama self praises! You have Zambians in the diaspora now breaking corporate grounds. Adopt a building at UNZA as a way to payback instead of just singing empty praises.

  22. Ba Mwenda, please. Some of these things we don’t need to publish them. We do this only to encourage others but to show off. Hope that was your motive. Sadly it is prevalent in Africans to front our success or accomplishments than who we can do for others. Sad

  23. Jealous down, Yes he has achieved alot… BUT me I HAVE LOST RESPECT for these grey haired people. They had free education mwa kaunda were even given free napkins when they were babies.

    Lelo they are failing the current generation and very few from the current generation will achieve these Phd as there is no education to talk about

    Thats what I expected the story to address,,, NOT another fancking CV, We are not employers here.

  24. #1.4 Jay Gay, I didn’t pay attention to the name until I saw your comment to BR Mumba. Then I realised its, you can’t hide your heart can you Jay Gay?
    Coming to the article, it does not bring out what the Prof has done for Zambia or in the service of mankind which I think should be the ultimate objective of any normal human as required by our creatir. The Prof comes across as a foo.lish man to whom self aggrandisement is the ultimate prize. Right at the start of the article you can see that the Prof’s driver is envy at those of his peers who are more successful than him but unfortunately it is clear that he has never succeeded. In a way this is the same problem with Hacks.
    My overall rating of the both the article and the author: TRIB.AL
    And Jay Gay:…

  25. ….Right at the start of the article you can see that the Prof’s driver is envy at those of his peers who are more successful than him but unfortunately it is clear that he has never succeeded. In a way this is the same problem with Hacks.
    My overall rating of both the article and the author: TRIB.AL

  26. My own observation is that Ken is a very brave, courageous, and confident individual. Personally, I wouldn’t have the guts to trumpet my achievements to this degree.I always feel uncomfortable with self-praise; I would rather have other people applauding my achievements.

  27. Well very good history , but missing one key important thing, I was expecting the professor to say he was the innovator of X service or product Y which has helped to offer the much needed employment to at least a sizable number of Zambians.

    Zambia will only be developed by Zambians ourselves by using our advanced education to innovate new and competitive services and products which will give employment to many Zambians . Trust me this man will keep on looking for jobs elsewhere.

    Gain education and use to create or innovate products & services , then we will appreciate you more.

    Anyway good luck Prof.

  28. Misplaced head line,this is just a cv.Pliz come to zambia if you are abroad,come and take a difficult path in resolving the lacunas in our constitution,pliz come and help sit hh and ecl on the round table,come and help sort out land issues.Remember when you come to our farm block dont come with pointed shoes ours are jomboz.

  29. I’m very surprised that such an educated young man has such low self esteem that he resorts to self-praise to cure the mischief!

    There are other people who have excelled in multiple disciplines but make no song and dance about the fact.The respondent has a senior Royal ???? College Paediatric Fellowship alongside a London LLB and other higher Law UK degrees.Referring to people as elderly is simply crass.

  30. But what have you achieved for ordinary Zambians? Kang’ombe built toilets for schools and hospitals in his village with his humble education, Laura Miti is fighting for transparency and accountability for the poor Zambians, she also raises money for the able bu financially poor kids to go to school. Mother Theresa never brew her trumpet to anyone. Prof Kelly’s brains developed the Zambian education system. These are the truly educated sir!
    My father in heaven says, Pride goes before a fall! We have more accomplished Zambians, making bigger impacts on human life and are just quiet.

  31. He must have ran out of typing space to talk about he’s current Mercedes, he’s first Mercedes, he’s house, he’s Doctor wife etc etc.

  32. Food for thought Prof:
    A 26-year-old Nigerian, credited for building the world’s first gaming robot, Silas Adekunle, has become the highest paid in the field of robotic engineering.Adekunle achieved the feat after signing a new deal with the world’s reputable software manufacturers, Apple Inc.Sep 21, 2018

  33. Why is it Black Africans want to always be called Doctor or Doc when they obtain their non medical PhD?
    My American friends who are actually medical doctors prefer to be addressed by their first name when outside of the hospital.
    Is it by reason of a poverty stricken background?

  34. It is really torturous to show you have one of them biggest egos of all? The premise of Kaunda, Kapwepwe and Nkumbula free education mantra was that it should not be wasted on professional scholarship but to give intellect and skills to drag people out of ignorance, disease poverty……. Mwenda has even not overcome his pathetic ignorance.

    May the next generation realise there is no hierarchy to humanity. Measures of excellence are for the devil otherwise if it wasn’t for the dropouts Gates and Jobs, our blogging might not be here. But hey Kalusha with his flaws has given us fantastic joy. Go on and sweep the toilet for the next Mwenda. That’s fine too.

  35. What i learn from the posts on this blog is that there is a big difference between being educated and being wise…..and whilst wisdom comes with age,for some people age comes alone…

  36. Not exactly what I expected from a respected colleague like Ken. Perhaps he wanted to say ‘in life, there are no shortcuts…and things gotten through shortcuts may not bring the satisfying personal or social satisfaction’. I’m very sure Ken is not one who takes pride in personal aggrandizement. I think this was written for him to tarnish his image.

  37. Professor Kenneth Kaoma Mwenda Phd, is universally recognized as one of the most brilliant legal and economic minds the world has ever produced. With two higher doctorates in Economics and Law respectively accompanied by more than 100 high impact journal publications and 29 academic books being used in the worlds prestigious universities, Proffesssor Mwenda ranks among the worlds most accomplished scholar and practitioner. With 20 years experience at the World Bank as senior legal counsel and currently Program manager and yet under the age of 50 with a beautiful loving family, his legacy is so rare. I am glad he has told his story. Well done Professor. You are the brains behind the well functioning capital markets in our country and beyond among many numerous achievements. The challenge…

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