We, the Bottom Up expedition comprising our chief security officer, Nganga Maigwaigwa, PSC (RTD), our leader of delegation, Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 66, our religious advisor, Alhajj Mufti Jean-Philippe LePoisson, SC (RTD), our moralist, the Most Paramount Native Authority Mzee Mandela, and I, Malawi’s only Mohashoi, are here in Paris, Capitale de la France for a working vacation.
We are here to observe le premier tour or the eliminatory round of French Elections this Sunday, April 23 2017 sponsored by ourselves. This year’s French presidential elections are interesting since the incumbent, François Hollande, is not standing because les sondages as polls are called here showed that he was extremely unpopular amongst the ‘flies’ interviewed and his chances of retaining the presidency were virtually nil.
In this year’s elections, the candidate of the extrême droite, Marine LePen, a professional lawyer and iron lady leader of the Front National is one woman to watch. Marine is an adroit campaigner. She is so courageous that she even fired her own father, Jean-Marie LePen, founder of the Front National Party. Imagine Atupele Austin Ung’onoung’ono firing Bakili Elesoni Muluzi from the dying UDF!
The other candidates are François Fillon, Emmanuel Macron, Jean-Luc Melanchon, Benoît Hamon, Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, François Asselineau, Jean Lassale, Philippe Poutou, Jacques Cheminade, and Nathalie Arnaud. Among the 11 candidates only three candidates François Filon, Marine LePen and Emmanuel Macron stand a chance of becoming president de la France. And only two will battle it out in the second tour on May 7 2017.
For two weeks, we will be lodged at Cité internationale universitaire de Paris located in the 14th Arrondissement or District from which we will venture out to entertainment places in Moulin Rouge and Saint Denis. We are also to visit and shop at Versailles. But, we will not climb the Tour Eiffel because Nganga thinks it is not safe to do so during tense times.
We left our beloved Federal Tribal Republic of Malawi aboard an Ethiopian aeroplane falsely marketed as Malawian Airlines on Wednesday through the Kamuzu International Airport in Cashgate City. For Nganga, this was the first time he had been inside a plane. Despite his excitement and bravado, his trepidation was easy to observe as he was the only person in the entire cabin that was sweating despite the in-cabin air conditioning.
“So, where is the driver?” Nganga asked as we, Jean-Philippe near the window, Nganga in the middle and I near the aisle, fastened our seatbelts.
“Which driver?” Jean-Philippe asked.
“The one who will drive this aeroplane?” Nganga insisted, making Abiti and Native Authority Mandela who shared a two-person seat opposite us, chuckle like conjoined twins.
“Che Maigwaigwa, it’s a matter of parlance or professional jargon. Cars are driven, motorcycles and horses are ridden; boats are steered; planes are flown or piloted but not driven!”Abiti whispered.
“You don’t drive a canoe; you row it. Clear, now?” Native Authority Mandela asked.
“In short, a pilot is a driver or flier of aeroplanes!” Nganga said, laughing as he wiped his face with a mouchoir en papier or serviette as toilet paper is diplomatically named in aeroplanes.
“Except that a pilot is a bit more intelligent!”Jean-Philippe said.
“You call someone who learns and memorises how to ‘parotically’ manoeuvre machinery intelligent? Please reserve intelligence for the person who innovated or created the machinery!”Nganga said.
Nganga was jocund during the entire flight to Ethiopia, where we transferred to the waiting Air France Airbus A380-800, a huge plane capable of seating the entire refugees at Dzaleka and keep them airborne, fed and entertained until the Malawi Government and the United Nations agree where to resettle them.
We arrived here in Paris through Charles de Gaulle International Airport. Our handlers, pleasant young people, drove us to the city centre.
“Vous êtes d’où?” one girl asked.
“We are from Malawi,” I answered.
“No. Malawi, dwarfed by Tanzania to the north east; Mozambique to the east and south and Zambia to the west.”
“Is your president male or female?” the girl went on.
“Renseignez-vous via l’internet, mademoiselle!” I said, shutting her up.