Celebrating the word: Tenthani’s Muckraking on World Press Freedom Day.

In John 1:1 (KJV) the Big Book says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

I am not a theologian so I will not attempt to interpret this verse ‘theologically’. Suffice to say, however, that in my considered view I believe the ‘word’ – both written and spoken – is sacred. That is why the courts will jail you for perjury if you lie under oath using the written or spoken word.

Tenthani:  The muckracker

Tenthani: The muckracker

Today, May 3, the free world is celebrating the World Press Freedom Day. The United Nations General Assembly, in 1993, proclaimed the day after the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO)’s conference in 1991 suggested it in response to a call by African journalists who, in the same year, produced the seminal ‘Windhoek Declaration’ on media pluralism and independence.

As we celebrate the ‘word’ let me take advantage to disambiguate the idea behind Muckraking on Sunday. Sometimes I read with glee feedback I get via SMS, online or other social media platforms especially when I speak truth to power. I must confess that I specially enjoy the negative feedback, especially those that attack my person using truthful aspects of my being or pure innuendoes. That tells me that, as they say in Baseball, I have hit a ‘home-run’ – the message has reached home.

Look, these low-lifers, most of whom are faceless as they hide behind pseudonyms because they do not believe in what they say, are disciples of coaches of bad footballers who instruct their players that “If you miss the ball, don’t miss the leg!”

That said, let me deconstruct the DNA – as my good friend the Chaffman Ephraim Munthali across the street would have it – of the column. The column is an irreverent, but respectfully frank, treatise on current affairs. ‘Muckraking’, in its general and ordinary sense – as our friends in the wig would have it – is throwing mud (muck) at each other. I do not believe there can be any reverence in such an act.

So, for example, if the President decides to fly to some routine SADC summit in Maputo when half his country is submerged in water we will not belabour ourselves into looking for a more respectful adjective. We will call such a decision what it is, ‘stupid’. That does not mean we are saying that the President is ‘stupid’. All we are saying is that that particular presidential decision is ‘stupid’.

Indeed when government bails out people from responsibility of loans they not only willingly but forcefully appropriated from a bank we will not hunt for more respectful adjectives such as ‘unfortunate’ to describe such an irresponsible action. We will call it what it is: ‘criminal’, ‘unreasonable’, ‘corrupt’, ‘irresponsible’, ‘senseless’ – add your own!

And some apologists will dub the Muckraker as a ‘fault-finder’ for not praising certain people for doing the right things. But it is not in the DNA of this column to praise people who are handsomely remunerated to do the right things. By the way, they still get handsomely remunerated even if they do stupid things – which, unfortunately, is often!

We want a ‘servant-government’, not a ‘boss-government’; a ‘servant-presidency’, not a ‘boss-presidency’. Bakili Muluzi, for all his faults, did fabulously well in demystifying the presidency. It will be a sad day for Malawi to slide back to those bad old days when we failed to even think independently because we were so collectively stupid we believed that someone as mortal as us was so omnipresent he could eavesdrop on our thoughts!

So, as we celebrate the ‘word’ today, let us also celebrate our freedom to be free from fear of authority. Remember fear is not synonymous to respect.

As Peter Greste, the Australian journalist who spent over a hundred days in an Egyptian gulag, said: “Free media is key to free society, free debate and free ideas.”


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14 thoughts on “Celebrating the word: Tenthani’s Muckraking on World Press Freedom Day.”

  1. Enidziko says:

    This thieving government writes off Mulli’s huge loan so that they save enough to bankroll the next campaign in 2019. This bankgate is worse than cashgate!

    1. Kenkkk says:

      i totally agree with you Enidziko. The whole saga is all about the funding of DPP since the nooze seem to have tightened on the neck of this heartless DPP govt on such issues as good governance, cashgates, nacgates, etc. Selling MSB to their corrupt colleagues in FDH bank is the only way that will ensure and guarantee the safe massive funding of DPP now and come 2019. They will have the whole bank behind them, just as they used Mulli to bankroll funding to DPP.

  2. zakusimba says:

    Tenthani aku dikumbutsa movie Coming to America by eddie murphy

  3. John banda says:

    SIR Ralph, “It’s better to live as though there is God life death and fund our later that it’s not there than to live like God doesn’t exist only to be shocked of His existence after death. Consider turning your life completely to Jesus. He will save you.
    I enjoy your writings every Sunday evening I make sure I read your vast knowledge you compound in an entertaining manner.
    Love you Ralph but think about what am saying and pray to God for your salvation.
    Meet you at the top.

  4. wochenjera says:

    Ndinu a Peoples Party koma kulemba kokha ndinu atate bwana

  5. Kabungo says:

    Koma mmene akuonekera a Tenthani wa zili bwino?

  6. angoni says:

    Mgoni wakalipatu APA. Bwanje woyee. But seriously za msb izi is an insult to Malawians. Akumuopa chain mulli?

  7. Juddaist says:

    I salute Tenthani even when all the people in this world throw mud (muck) at the personality behind him. I will be the last person to pat him on the back; the dude can write. Keep it up boss.

  8. KUKHALA says:


  9. Wina says:

    I for one respect my colleague Raph, this is reflected in my reading what he puts down. But a small advice to him is that he is free to quote any book except the Big Book as he calls it – The Bible. In this article, the meaning of the word ‘word’ is far from what my colleague thinks. He runs away by saying that he doesnt want to be a theologian to give its interpretation but his writing clearly betrays him as to the meaning of the quote. The word referred to in the chapter you have quoted refers to JESUS that He was with God right from the beginning, its not the spoken or written word as meant to be understood.
    By the Raph have you ever been in church in your life? excluding when you were being forced by your parents assuming they did that.
    You must commit a few minutes once in a week and ponder on what happens when one dies, approach the question with an open mind, we journalists, I know, in most cases we believe we know it all, in other words, we are arrogant, by nature of our profession but there should be time of reflection on our lives not only relaxing over a bottle or with a new mysterious mistress whom you believe is the best woman you ve ever had only to discard her after a few sleepings with her.
    I am sure many people celebrate your writings, and be assured there will be uncountable wonderful tributes including from those you often muckracke the day the LORD decides on you final day on earth. But before that day make a good decision in order to continue enjoying your life hereafter, believe it or not, there is a hereafter.
    Finally, let me say there are many muckrakers out there who think they are champions in their trade such that theres nothing more they are afraid of, I mean if they are able to make the small Kuhuna shake in his intestines, then the feeling of being on top of the world eludes them. Take care!

  10. Jozza says:

    Umaitha mkulu, point blank, as a nation we are playing on a slippery ground we will all fall soon bcoz of of the blind leaders we put in powers and as sleeping as we are.

  11. happening boy says:

    N’jiba walemba, i respect You Ralph if we had give of your kind, we could see a change.

  12. Kenkkk says:

    Yes, Ralph, excellent thoughts.

  13. Achimidzimidzi says:

    By the way, may some one tell me the name of lawyer for MSB.

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