Britain has added its voice to the growing tributes of prominent Malawian journalist Raphael Tenthani who was killed in a car accident along the Lilongwe-Blantyre M1 Road on Saturday night.
Kizito Tenthani said his brother was killed in a car accident at around 9 p.m. on Saturday evening after sustaining head injuries when the car he was travelling in from Ntcheu to Blantyre overturned at Kammwamba along the M1 Road.
He was in the company of his cousin, his two children and a colleague, who all sustained minor injuries and were treated at Mlambe and Queen Elizabeth Central hospitals.
In a condolence message made available to Nyasa Times, British High Commissioner to Malawi Michael Nevin said it was a “great shock” to learn of Tenthani’s death.
“He was one of the region’s pre-eminent journalists, admired for his professional reporting not just to Malawians but to the world through the BBC,” said Nevin.
“I knew Raphael well from my days as a Political/Press Officer during my previous posting to Malawi. I will miss his insights and ability to take a broader view of developments as should befit a democratic country.
“My condolences extend to his family, friends and colleagues, with a call for Raphael’s fearless critique to be upheld by his fellow journalists,” said Nevin.
The main opposition Malawi Congress Party (MCP) has since described Tenthani as one of the freedom fighters in the country.
MCP spokeswoman Dr Jessie Kabwira says the MCP president Dr Lazarus Chakwera and the entire party leadership are “ shocked” over his demise.
Kabwira said Tenthani has gone at a time when Malawi needed him most, saying he was a journalist who was speaking for all the voiceless.
” Ralph Tenthani was a professional of unwavering objectivity, timely engagement and unparalleled commitment to speak truth to power,”said Kabwila quoting Chakwera, adding “Malawi has lost a true patriot, an icon of monumental value.”
Tenthani was one of Malawi’s finest and a model to many, according to a statement by Journalists Union of Malawi (JUMA) signed by its president Mtheto Lungu.
“His prolific, gallant and frank pieces of writing kept several duty bearers including our elected leaders in constant check in upholding our hard earned democracy. He leaves a legacy which challenges us from priotising individual interests at the expense of national good,” reads Juma statement.
Tenthani, 43, was best known for his weekly column “Muckraking on Sunday” in the Sunday Times newspaper as well as Nyasa Times online and was a contributor for The Associated Press and the BBC.
He was also known as a press freedom activist.
BBC Africa wrote on its Facebook page: “Raphael was a brilliant writer and journalist and reported not just for the BBC, but for the Associated Press as well. He was also a popular newspaper columnist at home.”
In 2010, Tenthani won a UN Media Award for his work on the Millennium Development Goals.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :