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Thursday, January 27, 2022

Thieves, hegemonists, and tribalists: Explaining President HH’s Psychological Mind

Columns Thieves, hegemonists, and tribalists: Explaining President HH's Psychological Mind

By Moses Simaamba PhD

Psychologists have long identified the concept of “projection”– that is, attempts by individuals to unconsciously attribute their own traits to other people as a justification for their shortcomings. As the weight of the Presidency takes a toll on HH, so is his vocabulary growing. In addition to the “clique of thieves,” the President has added two more demeaning words to characterize his political opponents, “hegemonists, and tribalists.” Are these three words the lens through which President HH engagement with his opponents occur? But could projection explain this tendency? A thief is quick to assume everyone is a thief; a tribalist is quick to see everyone as a tribalist, and the hegemonist assumes everyone is one; just as a cheating husband thinks the wife is doing the same.

The UPND Party: While the UPND is older than the PF, the leadership has been hegemonic and thereby undemocratic–both Anderson Mazoka and HH are of one tribe. The PF, however, moved from Sata to Lungu. This pattern is similar in the MMD. Chiluba though Bemba was replaced by Mwanawasa, who was also replaced by Banda. Could this trait be behind the President’s projection of tribalism and hegemonism on his opponents?

Besides the hegemonic tradition is at play in the Ministry of Lands, and the Ministry of Agriculture. In these two Ministries, certain tribes call the shots–and against President’s own assumptions of tribalism, the power holders are not from Northern, Luapula or Muchinga Provinces. If the President wants to see how both hegemonism and tribalism work, he must audit these two Ministries senior positions. Many are the Bembas who have been denied promotions or simply forced out because of their last names.

Thieves and President HH’s Businesses: How many Zambians really know the President’s business Empire? We all know he is the richest man in the nation, but do we know his companies? These questions have huge moral implications. They may even explain why the President is preoccupied with “thieves.” Is this an attempt to insulate himself from accountability and public oversight? Is he employing a preemptive attack so as to control the narrative should questions arise about his corrupt business activities?

99 % of the people who voted for the President, his supporters, and those reading this OpEd don’t know anything about the President’s business dealings to know how ethical our President is. So when he calls others thieves, what makes us think he is not a thief? Simply because he tells us so? Moreover, it is critical to understand the relationship between the business practices of the President and the kinds of policies he is promoting. It is even more critical to know who is partnering with our President and the deals he is making with the so-called “investors.” Corruption is not just about stealing hard cash, but also making deals and economic policies that benefit one’s businesses or partners. It is for this reason that President HH must be transparent about his riches–playing hide and seek is an act of corruption in itself. Zambians need to know everything about their businesses to ensure that he is not using his office to make money on our backs. We should not think that our President cannot steal simply because he calls others “thieves”.

The “Clique Stealing ..”from” or “since” independence: I have listened to President HH about the clique and I don’t understand where the debate is. The President used “from” independence, but the context justifies the use of “since” because he was referring to the period as opposed to an object — thus the two words can be used interchangeably and the meaning remains the same. Stealing “from independence” assumes independence is a “person” from whom people can steal. How can one steal from “independence”? That would be misrepresenting the President. Regardless, there’s a need to question how the President can fight corruption if he is not transparent about his own business practices. I understand many people believe him, but he is human too.

I hate citing dead white men, but Lord Acton’s words to Bishop Creighton may help: “Power tends to corrupt and absolute power corrupts absolutely. Great men are almost always bad men, even when they exercise influence and not authority: still more when you superadd the tendency or the certainty of corruption by authority.”

Our love for Bally should not blind us from holding him to account.


  1. Ok. Maybe HH is a thief, part of the clique, maybe every Zambian is part of the clique. But can we at least agree that stealing by public servant (by elected officials or people who’s express purpose and mandate for employment is to serve their fellow citizens) is more of a problem for a country’s development than stealing by people getting ahead in their private businesses because we have incompetent Edith Nawakwis providing oversight?

    If a government can’t negotiate a shrewd deal, change the official in charge and don’t condemn the business person.

    Without corrupt or incompetent public officials, private citizens can’t get their hands on national resources and there is just no room to operate were public officials enforce the law.

    So lets sort out thieving…

  2. Does putting PhD after your name meant to qualify you & this cow dug of an article? Your inadequacy is easily evident even if sugar coated with your so called “PhD” qualification from the same WhatsApp group as Kambwili. This is a problem when you get a PhD handed down without having produce a thesis… Get a life “Doc”

  3. It could as well have been written by CK. Grade 11 eleven level analysis. At least when you read or listen to an analysis by M’membe, Munshya, Tayali, Mboozi, Emmanual Mwamba, Simon Mwewa Lane, Yeta and a few other Zambians you enjoy it irrespective of the perspective they take. Not this level of obscured and warped analysis.

  4. I am now beginning to think there is a new journoutlistic phenomenon growing in Zambia where you begin to wtite rubbish about people who are doing right so that you can be paid money to silence you and to stop you from character assisination. Because every day we have foolish people mascarading as journalists writing really mediocre stories almost unthinkable. This writer is useless to say the least and this behavior shours that Zambians are not ready for democracy and servant leadership. You have a rare breed of a president in the presidency and you still can’t see. You people exactly what white people describe you as Sh**t holes. People need to approach the new dawn, there is sanity in the countru and the president is putting a spotlight on crimes committed by the previous resume and…

  5. Great piece.
    Some of us already see hh for what he is. A greedy man pointing a finger at others and calling them unprintables (thieves or stealers and corrupt, tribalists) while the rest of the fingers are actively pointing back at him. A conman.
    It’s true the fainthearted see a great man in hh, we see an average guy with a lot of baggage in bag susceptible to steal. Very good and experienced at that.
    Hh doesn’t comprehend how the world operates let alone what it takes to run a country. Running a company or some form of business can’t be compared to running a country.
    We will see how everything unfolds under the under5 president but as the author of this article articulates, we should not drop the guard, he is on the spotlight, we need to ensure that the nigga in state house is…

  6. “……So when he calls others thieves, what makes us think he is not a thief? Simply because he tells us so? ……”

    HH said he is not a theif neither has he engaged in any fraudulent activity, he offered people like you a 3 bed fully furnished house for you to prove otherwise. …….

    Apart from 4 previous presidents with access to Scotland Yard, FBI , you have all failed……….

    Lungus appointments in GRZ and positions in PF were 90% from 2 tribes………

    Those are the clique, tribalist and hemogenistic trials the president was alluding to……..

  7. Really laughable…you call a thief a thief it becomes an issue.. you want to be called a samaritan…what was going on under Lazy Lungu was lawlessness!!

  8. Thieves, hegemonists, and tribalists,……

    90 % of lungus appointments in GRZ and 90% of positions in PF were for people from 2 tribes……..

    Hence also 95% of people mentioned in scandals who participated with lungu in stealing are from those 2 tribes ……

  9. Thieves, hegemonists, and tribalists,……

    Zambia has 72 tribes………

    90 % of lungus appointments in GRZ and 90% of positions in PF were for people from 2 tribes……..

    Hence also 95% of people mentioned in scandals who participated with lungu in stealing are from those 2 tribes ……

    Is HEHH not right about this ????

  10. I am assuming your PhD is an ‘honorary’ one and has nothing to do with Psychology, because this is a joke of an article. If it was meant to be a joke, then congratulations, but if not shame on you and I want those minutes of my life back after reading this.

  11. Very stingy chap. He’s collecting allowances alone on these foreign trips, I doubt whether Anthony Bwalya will ever complete that 1 bedroomed house in Kabanana.

  12. If you want to know that there has a been a clique of thieves since independence up to now check reports from then Special Investigations Team on Economy and Trade (SITET) which was there before ACC, also check FIC and Auditor generals reports, this is a straight forward issue which HH must not be faltered. On tribalism in Zambia, remember it is only tribalism when a Tonga votes for a Tonga and is never tribalism when a bemba votes for a bemba. If somebody said only a tonga can be president of UPND, then that is a personal opinion and not in the UPND constitution, and by the way why was PF not headed by a lozi, Luvale, Tonga or any other tribe after Sata’s death. It had to come from either of the two tribes with false superiority complex. Lets live as one Zambia one nation and avoid…

  13. In PF we don’t want the following to be our leaders, Lubinda, Kambwili, Luo or Nakachinda, these must be no where near our party, I am speaking for the majority of PF members, meaning this is a democratic decision, we need sober minded leaders like Sylvia Chalikosa, Brian Mushimba or Sydney Mushanga. Never again should we have leaders in our party like Kampyongo, Davies Mwila or Lusambo, lets have some standards this time around

  14. #17  Kang’ani nga’ni

    Spot on………

    Let them tell us how majority of lungus top appointments were from 2 tribes and how majority of PF top positions are from those 2 tribes while zambia has 72 tribes ???

    Because it is from 2 tribes , the clique are trying to gloss over their tribalism and hegemony……..

  15. No need to defend our tribes, your tribe will not earn you food on the table just work hard on your own. God for us all each man for himself. Thank you.

  16. Corruption from independence should not exclude hh.
    Of them all corrupt he is now the richest crook in Zambia because he is steering the ship and he knows every angle or loop to use to exploit Zambia. With ACC under his armpits all investors coming in Zambia could be bringing investment which could have hh’s businesses in them. This is what the writer is saying. But are you so sharp to discern these hh international corrupt businesses in investors he is wooing to Zambia? Or is he going to fvck us twice? Question begging some serious answers.
    The millennials couldn’t careless, we cared more that’s why we couldn’t give him our votes. Only a thief can know his thieving friends.

  17. The point is that most of the people who have occupied the office of President of Zambia have talked about corruption. HH is not the first and is not going to be the last. KK said so and created the ACC and SITET as well as the Leadership Code. Chiluba hardly spoke against corruption, and under him, grand corruption took place including him getting a house as a ‘non-sitting’ tenant in Ndola! Mwanawasa revived the fight against corruption and Sata famously said, ‘I am allergic to corruption.’ Lungu also threatened to fire some ministers for corruption- and the axe fell on CK. Kabanshi is in prison. So, Zambia has thieves in politics and the majority have got away with it.

  18. Trash article not worth using as toilet paper.What about Lungu’s tribalism appointing almost wholly from northern and eastern?

    The reason that Africa and African countries are so disrespected by the entire world is because it seems that too many Africans worship despicable leaders whom are chased out of office. These same people try to distroy their own country and their new government out of selfishness. I truly feel pitty for not only the person who wrote this article (whom doesn’t know the first rule about journalism “stay neutral and never pick a side”) but I truly pitty the ignorance and naivete of the people leaving these baseless statements and insulting comments about your President. Hearing constantly here in North America how ignorant Africans are, it is only reasonable to believe these sentiments after…

  20. The office of the presidency in Zambia is no longer a place of service to the Nation but a wealth a cumulator and a shield for those in support of the office holder. While the Nation staggers along like a drunk the debate and talk is not directed to addressing the needs and getting to work. There are already indicators in place that are saying as it was do it is and so shall it be. Tribalism , corruption , nepotism are still here and the so said new dawn is swiftly appearing a false dawn for it talks too much with no action

  21. @Kang’ani nga’ni. Please don’t tell us porkies. There are still people like me who worked for SITET, Mr Alan was our boss, when it was where PACRA is now. Your current president is a simple pompwe!!!

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