Today, we, Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 66; the Most Paramount (MP) Native Authority Mzee Mandela; Alhajj Sheikh Jean-Philippe LePoisson and I, the Mohashoi, are here in Salima, not to spend money and rest at anyone’s holiday resort, but simply and heartily to congratulate the people of this republic for standing up strongly and undivided to deliver a clear message that, if replicated across our great federal republic, would make all Cashgate, Tractorgate, Maizegate, Fispgate, 2014-Electionsgate and Albinogate criminals and other arrogant and intransigent politicians shudder and think twice before committing the next crime.
We are here to acknowledge that the people of Salima have demonstrated that chiefs may be born royal, but royalty can be challenged and dethroned. We are here to thank Salimans for standing up against corruption and arrogance.
We have chosen to stay at one of the many humble lodges at the district headquarters. As soon as we stepped into the reception room and registered our presence, Fatima, the receptionist, beamed and excitedly disclosed that our presence at the lodge would boost the lodge’s sales.
“You have dialled the wrong number, madam,” Abiti said.
“Quid pro quo,” Jean-Philippe joined in.
“What does that mean?” Fatima asked, puzzled.
“Nothing for nothing. If you want your lodge business to blossom like a sunflower in the morning sun, advertise,” MP Mzee Mandela said.
Fatima tucked in her tongue as she hunted for our room keys. When each got the keys, we agreed to meet at the bar an hour after settling down.
“Hey, long time, where have you been?” A man in his late 60s greeted me with such familiarity that I was forced to respond in an equally familiar tone.
“Fine,” I said as I approached the counter.
“What are you taking?”
“Water,” I said.
“What? Are you ill? Water is for patients. And even patients choose better drinks like fantakoko.”
“I guess you need a reminder on what constitutes good drinks. Water is the best,” I challenged.
“If water were a good drink, Lake Malawi would have already dried up!”
Then Jean-Philippe, MP Mzee Mandela and MG 66 came in and stood near us. The same man offered the three a drink each.
“You know that it is disgusting how intelligent school leavers are left out because of this nonsense called quota system?” Our host started, “Malawi can do without the quota system of selecting students into university. The problem is that politicians rarely listen to views from the people at the bottom of the leader.”
“Don’t worry about problems; just tell us how ‘quota’ can be done away with?” Abiti asked.
“The Malawi Institute of Management in Lilongwe and the Staff Development Institute (SDI) at Mpemba in Blantyre should be merged into the Malawi University of Management (MUM). Students will be selected from secondary school to specialise in courses related to management. Both SDI and MIM have appropriate infrastructure for higher education! And a nice staff common-room too!”
“Agreed,” Abiti said, “at least people who study at MIM will stop cheating themselves that they get their qualifications from Derbyshire, UK.”
“You know,” our host said, “the Malawi College of Accountancy (MCA) Blantyre and Lilongwe should become the Malawi University of Accountancy (MUA). After all, the MCA is already offering bachelor’s degrees! But the degrees will become more prestigious when the MCA becomes a standalone university.”
“I see,” Mzee Mandela said, nodding.
“Then, all teachers’ colleges, the Malawi Institute of Education, and the Domasi College of Education should become the Malawi University of Education (MUE); the Malawi Institute of Journalism turns into the Malawi University of Journalism (MUJ); and all technical colleges get grouped into a Malawi University of Technical Education (Mute).”
“Brilliantly tantalising! But there is only one problem,” I said.
“Teachers? We are here. I retired as principal secretary, but still have the intellectual wherewithal to contribute. All the teachers being rejected and humiliated around should be recalled to national duty until the last cell in their brains dies,” our host declared.
“My worry is that the president will be overstretched in his role as chancellor of Unima, Mzuni, Must, MUM, Mute, MUA, MUJ,” I laughed. n