Hichilema’s attempts to impress Bemba voters by using icibemba may badly backfire- Fred M’membe

Dr. Fred M'membe


Mr Hichilema’s purposely attempts to impress Bemba voters by using polysilicon lexical icibemba particularities may badly backfire.

“Ukuponoka”! Nikwisa aponokwe?

Does he really understand the meaning of the Bemba word “ukuponoka” he was using in Kasama?

It’s not the first time he is using icibemba or Nyanja words he doesn’t properly understand. Our advice to him is that if he wants to use icibemba and icinyanja, let him be scripted.

If you don’t know what the words mean then there is obviously a very high chance you will use them incorrectly and inappropriately, and it will be painfully obvious you are clueless about what you are saying or tryig to say to everyone around you who does speak the language.

The danger is what you think it is “impressive language” is actually words misused that make you sound like a yo- yo or a clown.

Can you say that you know a language even if you only know a few words? NO!

You can only say you know a language when you know how the language works, even if you’re not all that fluent. Knowing a language is knowing how it “thinks”, and just knowing a few words (or a hundred) doesn’t give you that.

Whenever Mr Hichilema has a burning desire to speak in ichibemba or ichinyanja, let him be scripted because some of the words he uses in public are not only incorrect but inappropriate and unpresidential in nature to express himself that way.

Fred M’membe


  1. If he only exclusively spoke in English the criticism maybe would have been: “the Puppet is using the Language of his Masters in our Rural Province among our rural people and Chiefs”. If he spoke in his native language Tonga in Bembaland, he would have been criticised that he is a Tribalist and Arrogant. We have heard and seen some of our other Politicians who speak only in their mother tongue and not even English in a Province where people who live there hardly understand such a language and no issue is raised. I like other Races, for example the British, when you speak broken English, their focus will be to get your Message and not to criticize you about your broken English, they are impressed that you have at least made the effort to communicate. “Scripted”? uummh, I reserve my comments…..

  2. This HOMO is a nincompoomp indeed.
    Jealousy ikakwipa. You have fo thru Kalaba, Kabimba etc and UNZA students as ur homo boyfriends and getting money from imperialist. Coming to think of free education is socialism.
    Just die

  3. This man baffles me !! He is triblaist to the core!!lol
    So is it wrong to attempt to speak other peoples languages??
    What’s wrong with that??

  4. Such pettiness!! When HH was in North western and spoke some shaky words in Lunda, no comment from Fred. What’s so special about the Bemba language anyway? Could it be that someone is frustrated that all the efforts to create and fan tribal tensions are not bearing fruit?

  5. Kuponoka (being beaten) my Bemba friends have told me is not a polite word although it’s used liberally in town Bemba. This is what makes most people think that it is standard Bemba. As a non-native Bemba speaker, HH can be forgiven for his ignorance. I do not understand why Fred M’membe is making it an issue.

    • Correct. It is kaponya language.

      That word would never be uttered in a Bemba household, unless of course the parents are something else.

      I think Hakainde knows exactly the usage of that word, and he used it accordingly. It is not like he is a stranger to insulting in Bemba, or using vulgar language. But he should really aim to do better next time. Show a bit of class once in a while.

  6. That’s why you always cry foul, when HH wins a second term in 2026, you will be on the top of an ant hill or roof top complaining that HH lied to the people. You just lack strategies and HH out plays you by far. Who stops you to do the same when you go to Monze or Choma if at all you have ever gone there. Are you not just jealous of your brother? Can you even try Tonga yourself? Anyway, knowing how bitter and how you hate HH, you should have been very disappointed with what you saw yesterday and the day before in Northern and Luapula Provinces, I am sure that is not what you expected and wanted to see. The people there were very happy and very receptive. The message was clear, the hatred and bitterness you have about HH is only found in you and not in the people. You Dr. M’membe, half of your blood is Lozi and recently, HH was in Sesheke, Western Province where he equally used some Lozi words as he was addressing the people. We didn’t hear any comment from you, do you mean HH knows Lozi more than Bemba or Nyanja? Or is it the SiLozi that you don’t know? Besides Sampa and Chabinga, HH had many Bembas and Ngonies or Nyanjas in his entourage and they were all at his disposal for consultation if there was any need. Zambian languages can be used freely as we interact with one another as brothers and sisters and that does not necessarily mean that you are trying to impress voters.

    • Iwe Fred is married to a Tonga woman, in case you had forgotten. So now you are saying he is tribalist towards his wife’s tribe?

      • Where were you when Fred, while married to the same to the same Tonga woman, repeatedly insulted all Tongas by referring to them as Bantustans?

      • Ba Indigo you know very well that Dr. M’membe does not have a case and he is just being melodramatic as he usually does when it comes to HH for reasons best known to himself.

        Uku ponoka simply means getting beaten. Dr. M’membe has deliberately chosen to ignore that the word “uku ponona” has acquired a new meaning from the original.

        I remember Dr. M’membe using some pretty vulgar language when campaigning during a by election in Chinsali towards the end of PF reign. It is amazing that today he is belabouring this issue which he has taken out of context.

        Truly, kolwe uushila mengwa, enda na ponona.

  7. Fred, just come in the open and put it in writing that you hate HH vehemently.

    SUCH HATRED IS NOT HEALTHY, IF YOU GET MY DRIFT (which I very much doubt you will get).

  8. Any one can speak the Zambian language if they desire to do so even if they know just abit. Its just that he is the father of the nation that’s why there is this social media buzz. It wouldn’t have gone awol if it was a common man that uttered the words.

    Otherwise, he is still learning…….

  9. Among all the series of events done in northern tour, the “opposition” only saw ” kuponokwa”? Too bad, how I wish they could offer real alternative.

  10. I am not a bemba am an easterner. Anyoko or auso aren’t insults nor derogatory. The context in which they’re used have different connotations. Now, teach me. What’s so insulting about the term “kuponoka?” I believe learning never ends. All I have known is “beating”. When is that word used?

  11. 2026 voting will definitely be on tribal lines due to exclusive appointments in government. My opinion. Hence the maneuvers to amend the constitution to remove the 50 + 1 to a simple majority.

  12. Ba Musonda it’s good that you are saying that’s your opinion. An opinion is not a reality because other people also have their own opinions which are totally different from yours and things may not necessarily happen as you think or want. It’s always the wish of tribalists to see people voting on tribal lines but things are now slowly changing. Even in 2021, people like CK, GBM, Nawakwi tried to use that strategy, they even camped in the Northern part of the country flying around preaching tribalism, but things didn’t work out. Moreover that time it was pure tribalism because HH had not yet won and he not made any tribal appointments that you are talking about. Any president that comes to power appoints people who loyal to him and the party not just appointing for the sake of balancing tribes. I am sure that is how people like Greyford Monde, Richwell Siamunene, late Daniel Munkombwe, Raphael Nakachinda landed on those Cabinet positions they had. If some people called you a Bantustan party, how do you start appointing the same people to be party of your government? They have to prove their loyalty first and that’s when other things can follow. Chilufya Tayali is almost there, he is growing up now and his maturity if he maintains it, may land him on some position in government in future. That’s how life is, how do hope to be appointed by the same government oppose?


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here