Bombasa and “Besa Nabakolwa”: Dora Siliya, Mulemena Boys and the Politics of Sex and Gender Imbalance

Education Minister Dora Siliya
Education Minister Dora Siliya

By E. Munshya wa Munshya

In the song “Umuti wa Bufyashi”, the late Zambian maestro Emmanuel Mulemena and his Mulemena Boys penned a song that was ahead of its time. In the song, a young couple could not have children. Typical of Zambian tradition, the blame fell on the woman. And so she went to both Chiwempala and Mikomfwa searching for help from witchdoctors. The witchdoctors prescribed herbs, a Whiteman’s teeth and the heart of an ant.

After another infertile year, the man contemplated divorcing the woman in consistency with prevailing culture that blames women for infertility. But the woman persuaded the man to try Western Medicine. The medical doctor examined the woman and gave his verdict. “Lady your fertility is alright.” “The only probable cause why you cannot have babies”, the doctor continued, “is because your husband comes home so drunk that he cannot perform.” What the doctor means in this song is left to our imagination. However, it attempts to change the debate from condemnation of women to letting society see that marriage problems are not the preserve of women alone. They could be caused by a man’s careless habits.

From birth, to puberty and onto marriage our girls are taught to be good servants. They are expected to look after their husbands. They must cook for them, wash for them and please them in bed. Women must also produce kids for the man. All these are indeed commendable traditional values and I would do everything to preserve them. But here comes the trick, these expectations are not pushed onto the man as it is on the woman. It is almost a given that a man has the license to behave in any way he wants. And in the context of a home, a man can misbehave and the woman should preserve the family by keeping quiet about whatsoever is going on. She must keep a “Donchi Kubeba” doctrine. This doctrine is not new with Guy Scott; it has been around for years embedded within our customs and culture. A woman is not expected to speak openly about issues. She is also not expected to be ambitious or to aspire to anything, or if she does, she must do it on the terms that society’s men dictate.

When Mama Kankasa rose up to be a firebrand within Kaunda’s inner circle rumours circulated about her private life. Undeterred she remained steadfast and became an exemplary public servant.

Some women in Chiluba’s government also faced similar challenges. Each time they showed ambition they were given all sorts of names. Those who were single faced the questions of why they remained single. Those who became more ingenious like Nawakwi faced insults of being promiscuous. Those who were divorced became subjects of ridicule. And yet the same treatment was not accorded to their male counterparts. At the time that Minister of Finance Nawakwi was being called all sorts of names for her relationship with Hambulo nothing was being said of her counterpart Sata who was allegedly running three families with three different women (a teacher, a doctor and according to Chiluba, a banker in Ndola). It was alright for the man but not for the woman.

When in the Mwanawasa government, Maureen showed some ambition Sata (now in opposition) told her to shut up and accused her of being an “untaught” Lenje woman. Sylvia Masebo came to Maureen’s defense and told off Sata. But Sata repeated the same sentiments on Masebo. The Bantu Botatwe traditionalists were infuriated by these attacks on their women, but Sata would not apologize.

In the Banda administration, one woman has perhaps received more insults than any other woman politician has ever faced. Dora Siliya was a popular broadcaster. That she is ambitious is an understatement. She got married almost a dozen years ago to a dream man. Her marriage to a famous business man was a marriage made in heaven-until at least they started facing problems. They divorced and Siliya continued with her political ambitions. She lost her first attempt at politics by losing badly in Petauke in 2001.

Since her divorce almost a decade ago, some sections within Zambian society have heaped blame on her for her failed marriage. People questioned her and doubted her political skills having been a divorcee. She was daily faced with the challenge of having to explain her failure in marriage and the fact that she did not have any kids with her ex.

Society judged her more strictly than countless of her male colleagues. Somehow in keeping with “Umuti wa Bufyashi” she was blamed for the problems in the marriage. She was a failure in marriage and consequently should be a political failure too.

For ten years she went on pursuing her political ambitions. Rising up to be a Cabinet Minister and close confidante of current president Rupiah Banda. Her ambitions are clear for all to see. Once she resigned her position only to be reinstated when Judge Musonda set aside the Ministerial Tribunal’s ruling that she had breached the Zambian constitution. She went on to become an influential member of the ruling party. But the questions of her marriage still haunted her. And for ten years she did it the way taught women are supposed to handle problems, “Donchi Kubeba” and suffer alone in your heart.

According to tradition she was supposed to accept the blame and continue shouldering insults. She was supposed to continue with the doctrine that blames women for infertility, infidelity and failed marriages. She was not supposed to have an opinion. She was supposed to do a “Donchi Kubeba.”

But last week she snapped. She could not bear the blame anymore. After ten years of silence she had to say her opinion. She had to break the taboo of silence. And yes, in a typical Nsenga style, she spoke some embarrassing stuff for any man. And I do not in any way seek to justify what she said. My objective here is to at least recognise that she gave her side of the story. She at least managed to paint the picture that she should not be the only one to blame of not having a kid with her ex and for not keeping the marriage. The man in the marriage had the same responsibility which in her opinion he failed because he used to come to bed wearing a Bombasa.

Having faced public humiliation for her private family failures, Dora decided to confront the issue publicly and show that she is not the only one to blame. It was her decision how she handles the issue.

Dora’s rants challenge a Zambian man to step up. A Zambian man must stop the blame game and must stop going to bed wearing Bombasa. A Zambian man must stop going to bed drunk with Kachasu and Tujilijili since there is a real person waiting for him on the other side of the bedroom.

The antediluvian “Donchi Kubeba” traditional doctrine that bought the silence of women is becoming obsolete currency. And women’s political libido should be judged on equal footing as that of their male counterparts. A society that judges our women more harshly is inconsistent with a Christian nation.

Faced with a society whose tradition condemned women’s adulteries as it condoned the men’s infidelities, Jesus told the woman brought to be stoned for adultery, “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” But in that case, as it is in the case of Zambian politics, the men are given passes while women are brought to be hanged.

Not anymore, says Dora and the Mulemena Boys, and on that point I agree with them!


  1. vote

    Good article- all you haters leave Dora alone.she’s a fine lady and doing the best she can.To all men please invest in your marriages and acquire some knowhow on treating your women right.Google if you have to and for goodness throw away your bombasa’s.

  2. vote

    kano nga naba sata baletomba chitombe tombe it`s ok,come sept 20 niku straight ku old leopards hill,may rupiah akomfwa uluse akababikako next to levy and chiluba.

    • vote

      Mind your language ndiwansele, divergent views are allowed but be sober in the way you express yourself! Friendly advise cose you dont know who else is reading your insults!

  3. vote

    mushya I am sure if she sheets in public, you will still stry and justify feaces in public. be open minded and not a hardcore mmd bootleaker. There is nothing right about discussing some else’s pe.nis in public. **********. please also do not try and bring Sata’s name every place

  4. vote

    Lodge Minister, what leadership can she honestly offer? Am disgusted and I hope even the Peatuke dwellers have seen that they need someone serious to represent them and not this…Shhhh DONT KUBEBA. Real ladies know how to represent themselves in public and not this…..

  5. vote

    This story doesn’t make sense. Many other women have risen up n taken a centre stage in Zed politics as well as in business. None of them has ever said come n touch my ****!None of them has ever gone on discredit their ex-husbands. Dora is untaught n a disgrace to society. that gal doesn’t have morals!!Shame on Dora n this guy that wants 2 support the cow dung coming from her filthy mouth!

  6. vote

    It appears everyone supporting the sunken MMD ship have gone mad especially as days of reckoning draw near and near. I believe a well cultured grade seven pupil can analyse and criticise Dora’s nosense far much better than this mad Munshya. No wonder Zambian Journalists have never been shortlisted for “Global Reporters’ Awards” maybe with an exception of the Post reporters!!

  7. vote

    This is taking as$ licking to a whole new low level Munshya! Not even the reformed prostitutes talk about their ex clients in detail, such as Dora did. Even if she divorced the man in the manner she did, its unacceptable to talk like that. No wonder fyapwile coz ka liule ka Dora. Let her join Chimbala’s R4M

  8. vote

    This article does not make any sense at all, this is the kind of flawed thinking devoid of any logic that the American Ambassador faulted George Kunda was in the Wikileaks. Besides, what Dora said is disgusting, who really doen’t know why her marriage failed when the entire ruins at UNZA are littered with her terminates foetuses! Did she thinks she was clever when she was opening her legs to every leacturer for good grades only to terminate the conjugul consequences, life itself? Further, I hear the girl has a bucket between her legs, no wonder the ex-husband in the end resented “swimming” by resorting to abstinence. And one wonders why she thinks amatako ansofu is beauty, good lord god almighty save us all believers!

  9. vote

    Dora you are a disgrace to women and the world at large you need alangizi and most of all prayers you are a useless woman no morals at all.

  10. vote

    Misplaced article. Dora wanted to justify the Same sex marriage in Zambia is wrong. She did not do it becauce Folotiya was going round to say he is real man. No. She wanted to shoot down Sata’s homo business. Retract your force story which luck substance. Even then is it for the whole world to know of our bedroom stuff.

    • vote

      If the MMD were so against the Same Sex Marriages…why didn’t the vote against in the UN three months ago but decided not to turn up!!
      Wake up!!

  11. vote

    It is totally against our culture to bring out such isues in public. Bedroom issues are for the bedroom and should be sorted out just there.
    I have a seven-old girl who reads newspapers a lot and I was at pains when she asked me what ‘Auntie’ Dora meant by her husband “being lazy in bed”.

    May we hear real issues being raised as these people campaign and not such immoral talk. Please preserve culture and uphold moral principles.

  12. vote

    There is a time and place for everything…she chose the wrong platform, she is a Political Adviser or Spin doctor’s worst nightmare!!!

  13. vote

    The article is inplying that Insega women a not taught. They can disclose bedroom issues even on anthills. Strange.

  14. vote

    The Post style of reporting needs to be condemned by well meaning Zambians as they are fond of manufacturing news from their minds a situation which is very wrong. If Mmeembe really wants Sata to win this years polls surely he must not be twisting information for he is just shootin in his legs has he has been doing.

    • vote

      Your comment is just out of order. This is LT. Why talk about the Post and what’s the connection of your comment with Munshya’s article?

  15. vote

    The moral of the article does not make sense. Why did she wait for an election to say that? Eh you people, she was saying all these things in the presence of her own mothers and fathers. Now which one of you would like to hear such nonsense at a campaign rally. Whats the benefit to the villagers in rural people? People in rural areas what to hear how their lives will be improved an not who is better in the bedroom and all that nonsense. She missed the timing for her out burst! Any way its politics!!!!

  16. vote

    Dora sent a request on Facebook to be my friend! Can someone tell me if Dora has managed to get pregnant after divorcing Folotiya. ********. I am not available for friendship as I dont want to ‘swim’.

  17. vote

    Neither DORA, MUNSHYA nor THE POST say whether Dora now has a child after chasing the drunk DJ from her bedroom

  18. vote

    Good article and well addressed.let us not be biased accept the truth,this goes to all those who are condeming Dora.

  19. vote

    @ #26 Pala you beat me to that. Munshya, has this onion booty got a child now? There are people who are miles away and they would want to know i guess.

  20. vote

    Some women are just good for sex not having them panganda as umwinamobe. Ask Folotiya! Bunga Bunga Italian stylo!

  21. vote

    This article does not make sense at all. Firstly unless Dora clarifies, the context in which she used the statement as I understand Nsenga was not an attack on her husband but an example of how a person who failed to perform can later come and claim he can perform. Her attack was on Sata who once was in government and failed to deliver and how he can now claim to know how to deliver. The Post mislead people on that story. When someone says ubuchenjeshi wankoko pungwa tasakamana does that mean the person they are talking about is a Pungwa? Those she addressed understood the message and thats all she should concentrate on right now because the post doesnt vote in Petauke.

  22. vote

    I agree with this writer and his observations on how society views women and especially those women are strong and are carreer orinented. As for #29 Big Baba, it is your ‘promiscous’ Sata who should be on ‘Ready For Marriage’ or is it ‘Ready For Divorce’ programme!

  23. vote

    These MMD chaps are so desperate to stay in power disclosing bedroom issues does not strike them as out of the ordinary. Power is sweeter than ****, eh Dora? With such misleaders, it is no wonder Zambia is still floundering in poverty despite having one of the richest mineral reserves in the world. Issues Dora not you fat behind which nobody is interested in please

  24. vote

    Dora, you dont undress a man like that in public! indeed, tawafundwa! you dont wash dirty linen in public nanguchashupa shani! how can you honestly embarass your ex.husband in public like that? no wonder you failed to keep your marriage!

  25. vote

    Dora (also recognised by Do$$ar) is an interesting specimen! She has no inhibitions like most women- will tell it like it is and not even butt an eyelid! However, I will separate the myths from the facts!
    1. She ********
    2. The former hubby wore a bombasa- True (she always urinated on him)
    3. She ********with her cousin at 14 False (false her uncle)
    4. She had a child with her married boss at ZNBC True Joseph K_____a- true
    5. She smokes ichamba False- She stopped when she went to Egypt (she did traditional hashish)- false
    6. Vowed to marry a man and not either way round- Any offers?

    • vote

      Can we see some evidence of what you are stating here? It would be interesting to view the evidence that you have brought out in Point No. 1. How about the ‘bucket’ concept – any ideas or evidence to that effect since you seem so well researched in DoraSiliyaology!

  26. vote

    Only someone with demented mind can surely support such a misplaced and se’x’i’st analogue. Dora must be ashamed of herself because it looks like her mind is a devil’s workshop! All there is in that gurumuthu of hers is nothing by fornication and adultery. No wonder for any situation, the parallel she can draw to make her point is one se’x’i’s’t in nature. Surely, there is more to life than sleeping on top of each other. For all I know, Folotiya went on to marry someone else and sired children. Dora is now seeing numerous so called “real men” and the results of the pregnancy front still remains a big ZERO! No matter how hard a man is ploughing that Dora field, the yield will always be abysmal, it’s the nature of deserts! Ki lihalaupa mme tuna yani.

  27. vote

    Ba Munshya, your issue would have made sense had the comments on her come from the husband, ex for that matter. Folotiya has moved on and there was no need for her to bring her into the public domain for ridicule, zoona ni sebana wikute for both Dora and Munshya

  28. vote

    Your article was JUST to Bring in Mr. Sata. This is the Problem with bought “journalists”in Zambia. You are even dwelling on “what” u percieve FTJ said. Now FTJ is no more so who should we ask for clarification? If it is us in PF we talk about FTJ and his thieving ways. You are quick to warn us the man no more to defend himself and we should not talk abaout his thievig theft ways using his short fingers. Dora should answer her accusers NOT you bringing Chisya Folotya who married Dora before. Leave Chisha out of this nonsense. Dora **** … bbasi, chapwa, kwamana….

  29. vote

    By the way this munshya must also realise that if there are bitter and serious differences in a marriage sex will rarely take place. Secondly if the woman is boastiful, disrespectiful and demeaning, the husband will automatically withdraw even sexually as there will be no emtional connection thereby making all the sexual weapons unresponsive to the wife. So to take Doras side of the story and make this conclusion is very unfair. Munshya needs to go back to learn how to write balanced stories.

  30. vote


  31. vote

    Munshya wa Munshya,

    Your long thesis is trying to justify somthing unjustifiable! Dora has been a very divisive figure in Zambian politics and one without courtesy or tact.
    But what she did in Petauke to discuss minute details of her marriage, undressing her ex-husband, who is not a political figure for no apparent reason is tottaly unacceptable, even among Nsenga women.

    The best we cann all do is to tell Dora to slow down, remind her she has a ife besides politics and that she has obligations to respect and can not go about bashing everyone. How do you justify her statement that Sata does not come from people??? That stateemnt is a huge insult not only on Mr. Saa but his entire family and clan, is that justifiable political jibe????

  32. vote

    What is this all about? Imisu yamwanakashi taiciluka luputa. Ask well cultured women they will explain to you what it means. A crocodile will remain a crocodile whether in water or on land.

  33. vote

    chi Munshya its shit like you …we kolwe we…how much are they paying you? even LT why do you print rubbish as long as its pro mmd. Not all of us are interested in politics try to report objective news. we tired of this lifwekelo, mumbbi ,william banda and the rest.Where is Shikapwasha?been sometime

  34. vote

    It seems this lady never went through marriage lessons either at church or traditionally. Only a fool can support any single sentence from whatever rubbish that was said about her former husband. A woman will never be respected without a man on the side and vice-reversal because that is how God arranged. But if a woman becomes boastful because of her acquisition of a higher academic paper, mostly such ladies are not married!! Dorah tune your language to befit a cultured Zambian lady. You even drew in your father, Mr. Sata in your silly talks. Whether politics or not we should be selective whatever we share with others. Shame upon you woman.Chitongo, is the only woman who can say such things publicly.

  35. vote

    Whats all this about? What did Dora say and where? Did Dora really say those things about her ex or are you people just running with a story from the Post newspaper.Perhaps she’s been misquoted or what she said is being taken out of context.No matter how flat you make it a pancake always has two sides.I would rather hear Doras version than act like most shallow bloggers who just comment and insult during office hours on company computers.

  36. vote

    What this lady did is indefensible. How do you speak against your former husband for political mileage? How does her actions help to develop family life in the country? It is shocking that such a person was a cabinet minister. So is the calibre of people we have in the country. How embarrassing! It has also become a common strategy in African countries to accuse political opponents of being homosexuals. This is an old trick which you can trace back as late as during Hitler’s time. Hitler used this gimmick to clamp down on opponents. In Ghana, Zim, Uganda and other countries on the continent, this song is playing. There is nothing wrong with homosexuality and it will always be there. The question is whether people will do it openly or choose top live in denial. Campaign on issues please

  37. vote

    For those trying to justify what dora said, just try for a moment and put yourself in Chisha’s shoes! The poor man is out of her life but she finds it prudent to embbarass him the way she did. I am suprised only one women NGO has said something about Dora’s outbursts. The MMD women league and the enire womenfolk should tell dora to tone down her language. She is not just embarassing the nsenga women, but the Zambian women in general. Does she want all those UNZA men to start telling the sordid stories of her university life?? God help us!!

  38. vote

    Looks like $ has us all change our names on the blog! ……….destroyed ….poor Chisha needs comfort – and these are the candidates MMD want Petauke people to elect back? ALL EYES ON PETAUKE come 20th.

  39. vote

    Ok. The truth is that Dora is a sexually starved bitter woman! Period!
    But I wonder is it that Folotiya is lazy or is that Dora is a pervert or a sexual deviant who can never be satisfied in bed no matter how huge the python is or how a man thrusts, turns and twists in bed?
    Shameless woman!! Anyway akumane nayo siku. Akamufase engine!!

  40. vote

    I have not heard Dora come out to justify her stupid rantings so far, why do other people want to speak for her? Dora is blind and here you are following her! unbelievable! Maybe you are trying to find your way into ‘fufilling her needs’, don’t forget, no bombasa. but mu zambia elo mupwile zooona… it’s sad. vote wisely

  41. vote

    Is there no Nsenga man at the Post? From my Nsenga and chikunda it is very clear what Dora said and meant. None of what Namakando and his friends at Post published in English in their tabloid. Can the post publish the Nsenga version of what she said. From what i heard on TV and from the post itself (the Nsenga version does not in anyway say and mean what the post have written). She did not even talk about her ex-husband. Post be factual. I t is unfortunate that the analysis on Dora is based on someones wrong and hate interpretation.

  42. vote

    The article is 100% correct – Zambians are so sexist always quick to blame the woman.Look at the uproar here when one man is allegedly dissed by his ex wife.I doubt there would have been a similar uproar if it was a man dissing his ex wife. Please can someone prove that Dora said her husband came to bed with bombasa etc Please provide the audio.Women lets support our fellow woman.These men don’t even give support to women and children when they are raped or defiled.If men were so passionate about morality there would be strict laws concerning womens rights.How dare you all attack Dora siliya when you were not even in Petauke to hear what was said.You bunch of chauvanists

  43. vote

    Munshya remember she was embarrassing umwaume munobe, so naiwe you be embarrassed nga walilyako for you to support such nonsense.
    Yalilyako Boi, or maybe you were pursueded to this rabbish becouse yo head her saying she’s “GOT A SOFT BUTT”.

  44. vote

    Dora must try a Tonga bull…she will have twins after 9 months that is if she can get pregnant. The truth is that you can not force a man to make love to a woman who he does not love. Limbi Dora alileka ukulowa…asangwike sistele mu bed.

  45. vote

    i guess many of you didnt get the picture of this story at all read it two three times if you can before you judge her. by for those who asking if has a child,YES she has a son.

    • vote

      Munshya the bottom line is that  Dora was so wrong discussing bedroom issues in public!
      And there’s always 2 sides to a story,how about we hear what Chisha has to say :(

  46. vote

    It would be interesting to hear from Chisha..grapevine has it that she was bedwetting, had multiple man friends, has an odour and generally made Chisha fail to perform. Nway it takes two to have good sex and i think Dora is as much to blame as Chisha

  47. vote

    I doubt the credibility of this writer.How would you chose to justify rubbish?Issues of a marriage are supposed to be between two people and where appropriate elders.Are you a married man yourself?Tell me how you would react if your wife told your workmates as well as hers that you only go for one round ans it only lasts for 5 minutes?Private marriage issues should remain private.Be objective man.A wrong is a wrong.How would Dora defend herself if Folotiya gave us his side of the story contrary to what she is claiming?These people are supposed to be telling people about real issues not why there marriages failed.And this is a spokesperson of a party that needs re-election.Shame

  48. vote

    Bad idea to discuss failed marriage in public. What does her old marriage have to do with the electorate? People want jobs, school and medicine in hospitals.

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