my name is…honourable so-and-so

EVERY time I hear a Member of Parliament introducing themselves as “Honourable So-and-So” I suffer that irritating feeling at the back of my neck that forms the beginning of a cringe. If he or she does not quickly follow up that social gaffe with a profoundly witty joke or the declaration that the cure for cancer is in their possession then the cringe is complete.
From the very first time it was formulated, the polite handling of that form of address was for somebody else to say it of you rather than for you to declare yourself so. Unlike titles such as Professor, Doctor, Engineer or King, your being honourable was determined by the people around you.
Just to be clear about our honourable representatives, I do not mean to say that they do not deserve the title. This title is given to them by we, the people who vote them into their seats, because we decide generally that these are the best people we believe should sit down together to regulate the country on our behalf.
We do not elect them because of any godly characteristics they might have or any special supernatural qualities, and we do not make them our representatives because they are “the best” people in our constituencies.
We SEND them to Parliament to REPRESENT us because they are LIKE US. We pay them through our taxes and they report back periodically to satisfy us that they are representing our interests as per our ongoing instructions. And if we feel they are doing a good enough job, we renew their appointments. And this stands for all officials we elect – from primary school prefects, through LC 1 Chairpersons to the President himself.
As the Constitution says somewhere prominently, all power belongs to the People – us guys – though we assign certain individuals to make use of it for our benefit.
Now, along the way, this concept of representation got lost in translation and now we seem to be lesser mortals than the people chosen from amongst us to do our bidding.
There are many reasons for this but one of them is the shortfall of humility suffered in this part of the world – and humility is not a quality dished out in large supply anywhere in the world.
Unfortunately for us, this lack of humility is backed up by tools that both confuse and dazzle us; like the big cars – which, ironically, are paid for by we, the people. Or the things that get done using the fat salaries – again, paid for by we, the people. And so on and so forth to create a cycle that we are already finding it hard to get out of.
It’s time to start pointing out the signs so that our representatives at all levels remember their positions in society.
When someone stands up to declare himself to be “Honourable”, finish cringing and then let them know. When one of them shows up and signs a full page of your Visitor’s Book instead of just one line like everybody else, remind them that they are just a human being. When they insist on being “too busy” or slight you in any way, remind them that when they were seeking endorsement for office (also called votes) they were the most polite man in the village, walked on foot and rode boda-bodas, and even drank malwa and other such things.
In fact, go out today and serve the leader nearest to you a reminder. At the very least, send them a text that reads, “humility|(h)yoo’milite| (noun): a modest or low view of one’s own importance; humbleness.
You’ll be doing all of us a favour.

One thought on “my name is…honourable so-and-so

  1. These days or “representatives” (I can’t say that without laughing) act like they are Moses bringing the 10 (point) commandments down from the (Nakasero) mountain!
    I feel like yelling, “HEY GUNDI! You were sent to represent us to him not the other way around!”. It is a sad state of affairs.


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