Dickson Jere Offers Fire Fighting Expertise on Lungu’s ‘ubomba mwibala alila mwibala’ Proclamation

Former presidential spokesperson Dickson Jere has offered some fire fighting expertise to State House in the face of the mayhem caused by President Edgar Lungu’s ‘ubomba mwibala alila mwibala’ proclamation.

Jere, who served as Fourth Republican President Rupiah Banda’s spokesperson has touched up his notes with personal experiences.


About Presidential Idioms and Proverbs

By Dickson Jere

Once upon a time, Father Bwalya was a pain in the flesh of President Rupiah Banda. He could really rile the President with his baseless personal attacks. So, in trying to hit back, the President attacked Father Bwalya by saying “he as a father without children” and went on to say Fr. Bwalya was in fact kicked out of the Catholic Church. But what the media picked and twisted was that the President insulted Catholic priests who are called Fathers but have no children.

The Church was riled with the President statement so much that State House had to apologize. The media forgot (assuming they did) the last part of the statement in which the President explained his attack on Fr Bwalya. As press aide, I was bombarded with phone calls especially from the catholic faithfuls who thought the President had offended them.

Fast forward, another Presidential speech mishap happened (it comes with a territory).

President Banda attacked UPND leader Hakainde Hichilema for not taking his wife in public prior to the 2011 polls. The President said; “nanga ndiwe mwenye mambala…” which loosely translated to; ‘why hiding your wife from the public, are you Indian?’. Within minutes, the President realized his statement meant for HH could in fact be offending to the Indian community in Zambia. He immediately ordered me to release a statement apologizing to both HH and the Indian community. And I did and the matter quietly died.

And so Presidential statements can be misconstrued at times especially if one does not know the context in which they were issued. It is, therefore, prudent to quickly come out and explain the context without justifying it. No need to spin as it will only escalate the debate. Apologies deflates enemies at times!

When the context is misconstrued, defending may not be a good option although it depends on the circumstances. Thinking of “ubomba mwibala alya mwibala “ idiom.
Anyway, I was just remembering my lecture notes on crisis communication management!


  1. Village Head man

    Thanks Angoni, but mean time let’s also talk about our tradition and ceremony this February end. Let other political people say their opinions just this month

  2. Zonzo

    I want to profusely apologise for at one point demeaning you and believing that you did not mean well,little did i know that one day we would have clueless and over excited
    Wayaya cheering on the great leader as he drives them off the cliff.

  3. ine wine

    i hope they will listen. unfortunately the damage is already done as that was just confirmation of what we already know is happening. there is massive corruption or perception thereof. the president was last week saying something else contrary to what he said on the copeprbelt. my feeling about ECL is he says thisngs to please his immediate audience. if he is addressing ACC he will say things to show that he is with them, if its Jerabos, he will tell them what they want to hear forgetting that there are cameras following him


    If Bemba is misconstrued and abused here, President should have spoken in English :
    ” …the Labourer should be treated fairly & not be deprived of the wages that they deserve & not loaf around & yet earn his wages. “

  5. Sorry

    Mr President… extract your statement!

  6. nshilimubemba

    This saying can be verge and missleading better we use clear terms to explain what we are saying , some miss guided characters can easily interpret it as stealing from where you work ; however decent people use it to mean you live by your earnings where you work .
    To me that is the true meanig for the president it remains a hard bone to chew and it will take his all life to convince people what he actually meant, and many questions will come from every angle .

    • Jonasampa1962

      It’s a bemba idiom to justify stealing .He is saying stealing OK depending on the situation but as a Christian nation it does not hold water.

  7. Concerned

    That’s true! I think we need to introduce some workshops or short courses to do with Human relation.Most of our leaders almost at all levels have poor skills in this area.
    My thought

  8. Makaza

    Traditionally let’s learn to forgive our political leaders since they are not vested with understanding the meaning of proverbs and situation when to use them. They are not teachers of linguistics and languages .language use can be determine by its contexts.

  9. Easterners are Chief Mambalas

    Damage control Ka Dickson “Presidential Appointments for Cash” Jere. Ba Fikala you are going very soon. You will never be allowed to rule this country again.

  10. Brave

    Loading ……………..

  11. Brave


  12. Robert mwewa

    I fill the President did not meant stealing from your workplace when he made those statements, now the biggest problem with our President is that he likes making pleasing statements whenever he addresses people and that hasn’t gone well with majority Zambians. It is the same pleasing statements that saw the birth of cadrelism on a larger scale. The pleasing statements give people more freedom to do wrong things in public because they come from the higher authority. Now people are beginning to suspect the president in many sphere’s even the good things still people don’t believe him,this bad talk has developed into a cancer that will destroy Edgar lungus legacy. So let us learn to sieve words before airing them in public. A lesson for all.

  13. I Don't Know.

    Has our president became a Chinese? Zambia has now become a Chinese country, you can’t walk 20ks without seeing any Chinese man. And if you find how they treat Zambian people, as if it’s there country; you can even feel sorry for them. They give dirty toilets to the workers, hard labour, less ? and not well prepared food . I personally, I have seen this with my eyes. Some examples are zanmei mine, bolo m, hocean, etc. Where in their country can you find such? I don’t know what the ministry of labour and health doing, if they are having kickbacks on the Chinese people or what? I still don’t know. At last you can find yourselves been sold out to the Chinese.

  14. Charlesmicklay

    Well spoken!

  15. matuzi

    Advice him when in office not after mistaking. A mad person is a mad person always. A drunkerd man walks with hungover always.
    The solution is to hook him or fish him out.
    Lungu is a loyer who nows well all meaning words.
    That is jast stupid to him.

  16. Mwale Phiri

    Bemba misconstrued? If you work in the fields you eat from there. Just moving a little away from the saying, In the Bemba and most other African traditions a hungry man can go into a field and eat the crop. This wont be considered theft unless the hungry man decides to take the crop home. Perhaps the president meant its alright to eat from there and not to loot the field?

  17. Richard

    words of wisdom, mr dick

  18. JOHNES

    Remember that Mr M chilufya tel the people that eko walya nimtibwa nako

  19. JOHNES

    Remember that Mr M chilufya tel the people that eko walya nimtibwa nako

  20. Jay

    Whatever he meant but was that really necessary sure? Sometimes it’s like that, alone you announce the hidden. Ni time don’t fool yourselves that it’s muyaya

  21. Xando

    Ba Dickson lekeni ukubyola. Otherwise, twalafumyako ‘son’ kwishina lyenu

  22. big B

    BA dick na banabo(pf) the speech was totally totally wrong for prezdo, wat will pipo say abt ubomba mwibala, BA prezdo, me I was sick on the election day so ………..

  23. B.I.G

    Wisdom words Mr Jere

  24. Gilt edges paper

    One can try twisting and turning. One can try gramatical contortions and other gymnastics but there is no way to rewire the statement. When taken in full context even the most dexterous liar can’t do squat about what was said, the order in which it was said and the inference made.

    The man stated loud, clear and in unambiguous language that he sees government as a place of looting free money and not one of public service. He has said that he is pro waste, misapplication and appropriation.

  25. Daisy

    He is a fool. You need to choose your words not speak anyhow. Maybe he was drunk as usual (kabotolo).

    And this man is supposed to be a lawyer?

  26. Dickson

    Ubomba mwibala alya mubala, not kulya nembuto. But pf alelya nembuto shesu. Borrowed money should not be eated.

  27. Wise Me

    “Ikakuona litsiro mvula siyikata pa iwe.” Meaning, “It doesn’t stop raining when a dirt person is exposed.” It doesn’t necessarily mean that the rain senses the presence of a dirty person, but that such csenarios will happen in people’s lives. It is unfortunate that a well meanty idiom was used on a totally culturally detached generation. This generation can directly or misinterpret things. A friend of mine once told me a fun situation in which period a trainee driver was the meaning of a poster bearing an image of a cow. The response was that there was a butchery ahead. Come on people we ca do better than this.

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