By Costain Chanda

Diamond TV’s Costa Mwansa’s defence of PF’s Spokesperson Raphael Nakachinda’s use of a Bemba idiom ‘Bika Matako’ panshi on Republican President Hakainde Hichilema, has been severely criticised by readers.

Most readers who responded to Diamond TV’s ‘Diamond Insight’ resented the idea that Bemba idioms must be used as a standard of instruction for institutional discourse. Others felt idioms must not be used out of context especially against those in top national leadership like the Presidency.

Zambia is a deeply conservative society that draws its moral compass on the respect for eldership and those in authority.

While in opposition, President Hakainde Hichilema used a Tonga idiom ‘Pa Munyoko’ advising the people he was addressing at a rally to reject PF bribes of gifts and instead tell them to ‘Pa Munyoko’, a Tonga adage that translates as ‘give your friend’ or ‘give your sister or brother’. The PF government insisted it was an insult to non Tonga speakers.

Here are some of the responses to Costa Mwansa’s defence of Raphael Nakachinda:

Sam L Namuwa:

These are primitive idioms. And if it sounds right in bemba, use it to your fellow bembas because such idioms are clearly insults to some of us who are not bembas. Don’t impose your bemba idioms on the whole nation please. Use them to yourselves. Eg in my language Lenje, I can’t tell my father or any elderly person such an idiom on them, it’s an insult. Let’s respect our diversity and acknowledge the fact that what might seem to be right in one culture may not be so in another, hence we need to navigate and tolerate one another from across different cultures. Simple!
This analysis is wrong because it is presupposing that we are all bembas and therefore must be subjected to bemba idioms even when they are insults to us.

Paul Monde:

You as a journalist must understand that Nakacinda was wrong. You’ve done communication skills. There’s what we call informal and formal way of communicating. Some of the says are suitable to friends and children and those are informal expressions. Since Nakacinda isn’t a freind to HH, the president, it was totally wrong for to say what he said. He was supposed to be as fomal as possible not being as careless as he was.

Dawin Sichimba:

I’m just wondering if the boss Costa Mwansa would be happy if that statement is used by his junior say, Andrew Mwansa Fanpage when being corrected. It’s totally informal and can only be used when correcting a younger/junior person but it’s equivalent to an insult if used on an older/senior person. I can’t tell my father, when he’s wrong, ati “Daddy tekeni amatako panshi…”
So the context really matters, it’s always informal no matter who it is used against, but even worse when used against an older/senior person

Kennedy Bwalya:

Mr Costa Mwansa , I’m very much disappointed with your analysis, it’s not every idioms or sayings we use to everyone, no,. Some idioms are specifically used to young people when elders trying to tell / teach the young ones & not vice versa….we don’t use idioms anyhow ( that’s totally an insult) u can’t tell your parents that ”bikeni amatako panshi” that’s disrespectful.
In bemba there some sayings or idioms u can use to your fellow age mates & not to the elderly people.

Micheal Sichan’gama:

Costa this justification is something else, because in whatever sense this idiom is met to insult and demean someone.

Miyombo E Miyombo:

Why does this analysis sound like idiomatic expressions are associated with Bemba?

Chris Kalyata:

Foolish analysis can you tell your farther or Mother at bika amatako panshi please Costa we know you supported pf government and its paining but I ask you go and tell your farther like that if you take that as normal say not the President, HH is a good man who wants peace and he told pf that don’t start what we are trying to manage please you go and tell Nakachinda to tell his father like that if it will a normal proverb Costa don’t push the government too much for giving you media that freedom

Muma Nduba Nkhaka:

So Ba Costa can you actually use those Bemba Idioms on Paramount Chief Chitimukulu ahi. If you cannot then you shouldn’t use it on any elderly person from anywhere in this Country period.

Mupapu Mundalu Mwenzamilonga Chizyuka:

So according to you Costa any idiom must be used on a ruler! According to you idioms where such words as mputi what what should have been taught in class to children to avoid what is happening to binoculars man. According to your reasoning, if an insult was used by kapwepwe in some idiom it ceases to be one. Come on! Serve us from this line thinking! If freedom fighter SMK turns for Raphael’s looseness of mouth, then he has nothing to turn around for, he could as well rotate on! Spare him this nonsense. May he rest on please.

Alick Muyanga:

In as much as it sounds funny, I feel that some idioms should be used carefully and in proper context.


  1. Litmus test, let him use it to address his in-laws next time he has a disagreement at home & his wife reports him to her parents

  2. The question still remains as to whether that saying by Nakachinda was an insult to attract any criminal charges on Nakachinda resulting in him spending a night in cells. Or Nakachinda just needed to be counseled on how to use such idioms rather than being charged.

    • Technically the use of such language may not attract punishment. However, it is important for leaders to use language that is morally and universally acceptable, especially when referring to the President.

    • Yes, it is appalling and irresponsible, considering the context. No culture is perfect, but every culture should strive to grow or evolve for good. Your use of such outdated language is useless and unproductive. I am not a Bemba, and I feel sorry for the decent Bembas whose language is being used for evil purposes. Raphael Nakachinda needs help with social etiquette, and those celebrating his behavior are bottom feeders and they don’t mean well for Zambia. I call upon decent Bembas to reign in and correct this nonsense we are seeing and experiencing.

      Coster Mwansa is misguided and myopic in his analysis. One does not need to be a Bemba or pf for one to see that there’s nothing honorable in such dishonorable discourse and foolish idioms. By the way, not every idiom is edifying.

      Concerned person with a 9 (grade) in Bemba, 46 years ago.

  3. In informal language I can call Costa ati Mwaiche when we are socializing, but I can not call him mwaiche on his programme when he is interviewing me because it will be disrespectful.

  4. It’s not right for some pipo to use this platform to express their hatred for Bembas.Condemn the culprit without attaching your natural hatred you harbour against Bembas for whatever reasons.In any tribe there are good as well as bad pipo.In any tribe there are witches n non witches and similar elements.Costa may have either responded to the situation as a pf supporter or his upbringing emulates erroneously a clique of those brought up in urban areas.As i said earlier on the matter,this idiom is only applicable when advising a junior person or children or young pipo or v close friends.Even young pipo in higher positions can not be advised using such an idiom.But having said all this,everything boils down to the fact that arresting and keeping Nakachinda for wrongful use of the idiom was not necessary.He just needed to be corrected more especially that he is non Bemba by tribe.Let us not be drunk by being close and tribe connected to UPND administration to insult & disregard others with divergent views.No situation is permanent under the Sun.Iam a supporter of HH but iam non Tonga by tribe.Let us be realistic in what we say on various platforms.

  5. I was equally shocked to hear that opinion from Coasta. I am Bemba and such statements are only used towards someone who does not deserve your respect and is never used against an elderly person or someone in leadership. If PF are talking about rebranding they are fighting a loosing battle with such pipo like Nakachinda. An insult is not only something punishable under the law but cud be anything that seek to undermine or hurt someone like what Nakachinda said. Every well meaning Citizen shud comdemn such behaviour including PF leadership & journalist.

  6. Nakachinda is non-Bemba who inappropriately used a Bemba idiom. He can just be corrected but because of politics he has been arrested and all hell has broken loose. Some people are even marketing their long held anti-Bemba sentiments borne out of malice, prejudice and inferiority complex. Totally unnecessary! When the other year HH used the “nakuchita chikala” phrase in Kasama personally I understood this as innocent and how easy it was for a non-Bemba to do this because one often hears this at bus stations and many public places. This in fact is an insult. Nakachinda made a mistake but it is not a criminal mistake for which he should have been arrested. It is just indecorous.


  8. No surprise seeing the discomfort Tembo subjected to on live TV when he presented a recognition award rude and disrespectful woman. And she did not disappoint him as she went ahead and insulted on live TV.

    So what do you expect. He likes this type of junk news. I think he gets a kick out of this nonsense.

  9. A blg fail for both Nakachinda and Costa when guidance could have been sought from the authors of the book that inspired Nakachinda to stray from his lane! The authors chose to document and share what is part of a rich culture for the benefit of cross cultural diversity understanding and not misapplication! Why if Nakachinda is not privileged to have been raised Bemba would he choose to borrow and use the adage directed at an audience that is not part of Bemba? This is trespassing on the sanctity of the adage as used by its custodians! For Costa as much as journalists do express personal opinions on issues they are also obligated to educate and they become better informers when their opinions are supported by good research!


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