Al Hajj Sheikh Jean-Philippe LePoisson, SC (RTD), Mama Abiti Joyce Befu, MG 66, the Most Paramount Native Authority Mandela and I, the Mohashoi, are now in Lilongwe, seat of government, seat of Parliament and, of course, seat of Cashgate.
We will be here for quite a long time because we have a special agenda for MG 66 this year and, as we promised, we will be visiting the rural and peri-urban areas of Lilongwe.
Since we arrived last week, we have been combing the city in search for some secure and reasonably priced accommodation since we can no longer afford hotel accommodation for long stays. A good friend of ours, a permanent resident in Cashgate city, advised us that if we really wanted quick and trustworthy results we needed to meet or ask a few old friends who would, in turn, send some SOS messages on their word of mouth (WOM) networks as well as social media chat networks.
That has so far not worked, partly because people are suspicious that the Malawi government, using North Korean tactics, has invaded all social media chat groups. So, we decided to go out and meet some people, live, at the decent Lilongwe Golf Club where the cream of Lilongwe goes every Friday evening to cool down tempers after long days in queues and wish away the problems of the dying week.
As soon as we got into the club, Al Hajj Sheikh Jean-Philippe LePoisson and I went straight to the bar. I asked for two tots of my favourite soft drink: Chivas regal. Al Hajj Jean-Philippe LePoisson, who is still recuperating from his malaria bout, asked for a fantakoko and some open-fire grilled lump, sorry, rump steak, whose oil, our consultant herbalist once told us, is good for aiding the accelerated cure of malaria and associated human ailments.
Then somebody tapped me on the shoulder. I turned. It was Joseph Mcheka, a former primary school, secondary school, and college mate.
“Hey! What brings you to this great city?”
“Oh, hi, JM,” I said, referring to him by his favourite initials of yester years. “Meet my friend, Sheikh Jean-Philippe!”
“So, Jean-Philippe really exists!” Joseph exclaimed as the two shook hands.
“Nothing that exists can really exist, Sir,” Jean-Philippe said.
“I don’t understand!”Joseph protested.
“Forget about him. He is an existentialist philosopher,” I explained.
“So, what brings you here?”JM asked.
“Here as in this bar?” Jean-Philippe asked for precision.
“In our city,” Joseph qualified his question.
“We are enrolling Abiti Joyce Befu in a six-month Advanced Master of Strategic Business Operations (AMSBO) course at the University of Derbyshire,” Jean-Philippe explained.
“University of Derbyshire? Where is that university?” Joseph asked, “I thought Derbyshire was in the United Kingdom?”
“It is right here in Cashgate City,” I said.
“Has the National Council for Higher Education (NCHE) registered, approved and accredited that university and its so-called AMSBO because I have never seen it on the council’s list of registered colleges?” Joseph wondered.
“Ask the NCHE why the University of Derbyshire is not bothered when it comes to meeting accreditation criteria,” Jean-Philippe said.
“So, Abiti has a bachelor’s degree? I didn’t know,” Joseph asked.
“We were told that, in terms of knowledge, her post MSCE experience as a till operator was equivalent to a bachelor’s degree and therefore she qualified for the master’s degree,” I said.
“Master’s degree made easy,” Joseph laughed, “Anyway, where are you putting up?”
“We are looking for accommodation. It has not been easy, my brother. The cost of accommodation in this city is so high you would think we are somewhere in New York, Paris or Moscow. In a country whose currency is the Kwacha, it is surprising that goods and services, including accommodation, are liberally charged in US dollars.”
“We will assist,” Joseph promised, “and where are the rest of the expedition members?”
“There,” Jean-Philippe said pointing at the Most Paramount NA Mandela and Abiti Joyce Befu who were sitting in a sofa seat like a couple getting ready for marital engagement.