Chipenzi: Pres. Lungu Must Retract “Ubomba Mwibala Alya Mwibala” Statement

President Edgar Lungu should forthwith withdraw the proverb “Ubomba mwibala alya mwibala” he allegedly uttered at the PF fundraising event recently as quoted by various media outlets.

The statement/proverb/idiom, whichever is applicable, was/is in bad taste and very irresponsibly in as far as fighting corruption and bribery is concerned especially uttered by the Head of State who is supposed to be number one caretaker of the nation’s resources and Soldier number one in the fight against corruption, misappropriation and abuse of public resources.

In light of sprawling allegations of corruption and bribery, misappropriation and abuse of public funds which have gone uninvestigated and ignored by himself, the President, it would have been lovable for President exercised restraint from issuing such uncensored statements.

This vindicates many of us who have been saying that the current President is not serious with the anti-corruption crusade but has instead, encouraged corruption and bribery to flourish right in his eyes and at his doorstep and among his ministers and government officials with impunity.

The statement above opens doors to the commission of acts of corruption and bribery by those working in various mwibala [fields]. This is why some of us are of the strong view that this can only end when the immunity clause in our national laws is removed. It will help nurture responsible leadership which fears to “eat” from fields they are employed to guard.

President Lungu and his people are entrusted with nation’s resources, facilities and property and are paid for guarding them jealously. They are not volunteers but employees on a public salary and allowances.

They are our security guards guarding our resources, as citizens who are the employers, and for him to start encouraging each other to “eat” from the entrusted resources they are guarding even after being paid only monthly basis, is extremely unfortunate.

The President has acted like an irresponsible head teacher at a co-educational or girls school rocked with teacher-pupil illicit love relationships or an irresponsible Bishop at a Church rocked with sexual immoralities.

Instead of issuing a stern warning to the culprits, when parents to the pupils or church members complain about these immoral acts at a school or church respectively, the head teacher or Bishop goes to address the teachers or priests involved in such acts that “ubomba mwibala alya mwibala as long as they don’t touch the small girls [seeds] at the school or in Church” for future use.

Would that mean discouraging illicit activities at the school or church, of course not? How would those culprits feel with such an encouraging statement from their supervisors, of course, very encouraged to misbehave further?

This is what the President has just done to his ministers, DCs, traffic police officers, civil servants et al through this phrase “ubomba mwibala alya mwibala”.

His actions and his rhetoric on corruption, bribery, misappropriation of public resources, et al do not coordinate. There is need for the President to offer hope and enthusiasm in the fight against corruption and in preservation of public resources by those entrusted to do so
Otherwise, at the rate the President is issuing statements on corruption, the Anti-Corruption Commission is made vulnerable and inept and citizens rendered hopeless.

The statement should be retracted and a warning be issued to all public officers that the law will visit them if they engaged in “eating” from mwibala when they are paid salaries and allowances.

Written by McDonald Chipenzi


  1. mulongoti

    From my own thinking I think this phrase does not mean stealing or corruption it’s just a misinterpretation especially that the complaint is coming from those who doesn’t know bemba proverbs better if you the complaint search properly you will just find that it means something else that what you think its a straight saying that you ukasombolaa apo ubya.. La this saysaying does not mean stealing or making it easy for someone to steal

    • edgar chibuta

      no i does not and for the first time i agree with what someone told me that in Zambia people have nothing to talk about and the press has been used to twist and turn stories just to serve the interest of the few. Lungu was right in using that idiom and in simple term Chipenzi must be given tutelage that it means that where you work is where you eke out a living and get income and in no way can you get that from the place where you dont work. This idiom has been mis used on the Copperbelt Mr Chipenzi and Mr Mulongoti thanks for airing out your views in a more objective and non partisan manour

    • jmc

      we are Bemba’s as well,there is a difference between “Gain whilst you are at work”and “You reap hat you sow”. Do deserve citizens.This quotation by the Republican president was /is totally wrong.He is just Human and can also GI wrong.Kano Nibo te?

    • Mack chimz

      Wat u are saying z wrong sir, the point z means that he z working on somebody’s chair it doesn’t belongs to him. I think it related to as stealing. Ubelekela mumuunda utaliwakwe naa utamweelende, mbujaka obo we!

  2. Mpombo

    Chipenzi Chipenzi when did you become an expert in translating Bemba proverbs or amapinda.The last time i checked you can do well translating the language of mpongo when its grazing.Leave the translation of Bemba to Bembas

    • edgar chibuta

      kkkkkk imagine ba Chipenzi

    • Eddy

      Interpretation of Bemba proverbs/idioms has nothing to do with ones language/tribe. You are using English because you have learnt it, that’s the same way anybody can interpret anything he has learnt. The ubomba mwibala issue figuratively mean a lot depending on want the speak mean… It can mean theft or reaping from where you sow…or getting paid from where you have worked from. Stop being tribalistic, who is talking about mpongo here. Come on we may be bemba but let’s embrace one Zambia one nation. You are sending you bad picture to us who should learn from you Bampombo! Come on where is the mpombo we respect and learn from?

  3. s phiri

    There is nothing wrong with this adage. All farmers, large and small, eat from their sweat on the soil. They grow maize for mealie meal, vegetables, beans, ground nuts. They rear chickens, goats, pigs for protein. They keep cows. But they dont eat everything. They leave some for sale to pay school fees and for other provisions. And most of all, they they keep some for futire use. Embuto. There is no stealing at all. Its all yours. You have earned it. Just like a salary in employment. All what it means is that instead of stealing, people shud find something to do such as farming to earn a living.

  4. Majoni Tyson

    De Bible says that, the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh, the idiom uttered by President Edgar lungu apparently tells what he thinks which is getting rich from government funds, this idiom is not only spoken in bemba but in all tribes and meaning is all the same. Zambia don’t be deaf when u can hear and be blind when u can see.

  5. Ndindindi

    Thumb to Chipenzi,surely, how can the president utter such a rotten phrase in public while die hard lusambo cheering, I have now come to prove that Jameson is blank,bpt even a kaponya can make such a regrettable statement, bwana apologise to the masses that you don’t know what you where saying, just say you were drunk,not ukulaipokolola,you will loose nothing, you are in control,,,,

  6. shu shu shu

    Any comment that Macdonald Chipenzi makes should be understood in the context of a UPND cadre waiting to start bombaling mwibala and eating in the the same ibala. Chipenzi was fired by Fred Mmembe for being a UPND cadre.

  7. Paulo lukamba gato

    As a leader you should not utter words that have no clear meaning to the public , you have so many field maned by corrupt people & Mr President what do you think this people will interpret your statement? If you think they will misinterpret your statement then please issue a stain warning to all fields for any misinterpretation , another added job for not having made it clear right there had you said it in a simple -understerndeble phrase to the public ,.


    All civil servants are workers in the country of many people and those fields they’re are not there’s.It’s just the same to what happened when chiluba was out of power the country followed what belonged to it because it was gotten without permission from the owner of the field so uttered statement from the president was childish and senseless.

  9. Mr.khc

    Pliz bamulongoti and your fellow brothers and sisters listen to me,im a bemba by tribe and I’m proudly luunda of mwatakazembe.what I’m trying to say is that there’s a very big difference between ubomba mwibala alya mwibala and ukasombola ifyo wabyele,and if the president wre to use ukasombola ifyo wabyele I think people would have not been worried bcoz this saying is commonly used whe we are encouraging someone to work hard,i remember very well even our teachers they used to tell us like that during exams.coming to ubomba mwibala alya mwibala i think saying means something else,during our school days we used to use that saying ngabatutwala mukusombola mumabala yapa school bcoz what we wre doing in that field wre something very ifwe ico twaleimininapofye konaula kabili tefyesu so we thought ukonaula could be the best that’s what ubomba mwibala alya mwibala means mr

    • BMK

      I conquer with you my brother. ” ukulya mwibala ulebomba” simply means stealling from that field just because you have access to it. Period.

  10. Charlemagne

    The interpretation of Chipenzi is correct, the interpretation of Mpombo and s Phiri is all correct. The only difference is legality and/or illegality. Fishermen eat and sale fish. The product of their sweat. Farmers, businessmen and women, teachers, drivers, Doctors, Lawyers, plus plus plus. All enjoy the product of their sweat. But if a fisherman or farmer takes that which does not belong to him or her, then illegality comes in. Arrest should follow.

  11. Vern

    Chipenzi, and Hakainde Hichilema
    Are not Bemba’s therefore cannot understand the idiom.

  12. mukuta shazi

    Twapapata ba lungu please hv mercy on ur pipo ka bolala a thief u b jailed soon o we shall use de soldiers from Zimbabwe u thief ati ka president

  13. Nosiku

    eat dear,it’s your time

    • Musonda umwana musuma

      Get as much as you want and you must continue using vexing idioms and proverbs until the day HELPLESS HORSE (HH) will hung himself.

  14. B.I.G

    Shameless leader! Bakoswe ngababelasha kwamba ukutamba na TV. This is an embarrassment to our country, a national leader encouraging theft in the broad daylight. Zambian leadership needs deliverance,, poverty foundation is drawing us back. Trump is being condemned by most African leaders when he talk about their characters.Me am tired with monkey type of leadership! Bemba idioms are most defensive, if you are a thief you will defend the statement.the truth is that our openly encouraging theft in this country,change is inevitable mwebantu?

  15. mulase

    I do not agree with all yo comments because all of u do not seem to know exactly under which context Edgar said that.My genuine analysis of that statement is that it may mean good or otherwise. Let us take for instance whether it is an offence to eat from yo own field.Certainly the answer is its not an offence. But if u ar an employee eating that which u bake if u work in a bakery is theft.So in this case u do not know wat Edgar was referring to and to judge him otherwise is nonsensical. I may be in the opposition but for me to oppose every word that Edgar utters is childish, unreasoning and stupid.Let us talk of real issues here not olo muntu akosomola ati asokoneza.I rest my case the rest remains for u to digest.

  16. Kapinda Jackson For chipimo

    You people we are talking about the head of states, who’s every move and speech is planed….. Some comments and statements have a bad stain in our country….. This by our president is a wrong despist he meant something supposedly….. But we all know what it mean and no matter what they will comment to convince…. The harm is already done, he should not be so careless….. Maybe it’s bcoz he is not bemba he doesn’t know the meaning

  17. kazhiko Samuel

    The idiom is bad

  18. katowise


  19. mulase

    The fact is that Edgar is not a bemba and as such should not be a subject of these bemba adages.An adage can change its common meaning depending on the circumstance,place or to whom it is referred.Most bemba words ar satirical in nature.Day in day out we here pipo friendly calling each other at iwe chikala.Do u get offended?Edgar is not a master of this contravential language and as such is immune to its misinterpretation and interpretation.. Period!

  20. mumbamart@gmail.com

    You people, if you don’t know bemba don’t start commenting. Do you tell me that BEMBA people are corrupt for having such proverb?. this proverb I wrote it in my Cambridge school certificate exams which was set in England.why are you misleading people because of politics.am not a bemba but CHEWA.i got a credit in bemba

  21. matuzi

    A blind person only do support such nocense and they are stupid as one who said it .Instead of bat encouraging even smaller kabwalalas to big ant robberies .Where are we heading Zambia’s.
    Pilato is forced to live his home land over the fact thing he anerated. .
    Pilato come back and have no fear aisokolola koswe mumpoto umwine.

  22. matuzi

    A blind person only do support such nocense and they are stupid as one who said it .Instead of bat encouraging even smaller kabwalalas to big ant robberies .Where are we heading Zambian’s.
    Pilato is forced to live his home land over the fact thing he anerated. .
    Pilato come back and have no fear aisokolola koswe mumpoto umwine.

  23. matuzi

    Musatanyoko nenkongole yobe iwe mumbamart.
    We are not talking about your standards bat over a mistake your President made .panyo panu mwebakuchipata.

  24. kovo

    seriously where do you expect the famer to get the food?
    but does that Mean the famer should eat all the seeds “NO!”
    the president is right we zambians shuld benefit from Zambia
    not America or else where
    dont. focus in the negative part of the proveb
    lets cheek the positve part of it
    and suport the president

  25. mkc

    Ati ka president foolish leader all that he think is drinking bear so how can he understand what he is saying to the people when he is in the drunk state.Foolish

  26. mulongoti

    Kwena mwebantu ku South mwalikwata ichifukushi palikateka wa chalo ninshi kanshi insele pa media kwena chalimikalipa ba muntu loleleni 2021 muchili muledabwa kambwili na lungu nipa chimbuya mukapapa sana kwena bembas are very clever pipo mukepusheko kwena tamwachetekele ati lesa alemwya namabwe insele ba……. Shapitilila it’s his tym to be the head tekanyeni chamwaza kambwili or kalaba than Satanist muchende don’t be blinded by bena kambwili, kalaba, and lungu there children of the saame family including pilato

    • Eddy

      Some of you elders you surprise us. You are the one fueling tribalistic comment yet you are condemning media insolents. Kkkkkkkk shikulu show us a good way to the future Zambia!! “I imagine a Zambia without tribalism ,tribalistic people and political mongers!”

  27. benson

    ubomba mwi bala alya mwibala kwiba,ine ngambomba pa farm musungu elyo ndesendapo ifipe ninshi ndeiba.

  28. mulase


  29. fra

    lungu alifyebwino mwebantu

  30. Peter Banda

    I can see that the good number of people here are empty tins with no brains, so people are failing to analyse to what chagwa was trying to say?ubomba mwibala alya mwibala (mbuzi ikudya pomwe ayimagilira)a sense of corruption already..

  31. simz

    Akanwa ka milandu kalaibala

  32. crocodile

    mathew 24v7_20

  33. Ndalama ni zaci?

    Bushe ime bakolwe if someone says ukulya mwibala, does it mean he is encouraging stealing? How do you expect a Zambian Cabinet Minister to be paid by Malawian government? Ibala ni Zambian government eifwile nokumufolesha. There are bigger economic issues to discuss than that. Ni Lungu cabe whatever the names you may call him come 2021, you ll still cry. Tamwakatepo icalo imwe bakolwe mukalatekafye ing’ombe.

  34. Season one

    Pliz the following words must not be repeated: ” The President has acted like an irresponsible head teacher at a co-educational or girls school rocked with teacher-pupil illicit love relationships or an irresponsible Bishop at a Church rocked with sexual immoralities.” There are several good examples you should set for politics. Naumfwa.

  35. msd mpanga

    The matter of the fact is that the president was wrong to used such type of an idiom…kkkk!


    Koswe mupoto

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