Fault-finding on Tenthani’s muckracking

Let me first confess that I like the writing of the Muckraker, Raphael Tenthani. He is a highly gifted writer, and I consider him one of our very best. Unfortunately, it is clear that he has earned himself a displeased audience which Tenthani himself exposed in the Muckraking of September 28; he simply referred to them as “President Peter Mutharika’s apologists.” Tenthani asserted that these people, accuse him of being a “Fault –finder.”

But going by the arguments he raised to defend his spirited ‘fault-finding mission’ Tenthani got it all wrong on who really is a fault-finder, and misunderstood his accusers. As a result, he defended himself in the wrong way and context. He even used the wrong examples, to justify his cause and that was a huge mistake.

To make myself clear, let me share with you the globally accepted definitions which also draw the rightful contexts within which the term can be understood or used. The Oxford Dictionary has two meanings of fault-finding, which are; 1. continual criticism typically concerning trivial things, 2. the investigation of the cause of a malfunctioning in  machinery especially electronic equipment.

Raphael Tenthani, BBC correspondent and the Muckracker in Sunday Times newspaper

Raphael Tenthani, BBC correspondent and the Muckracker in Sunday Times newspaper

Now while defending his fault-finding mission, Tenthani gave the example of a motor vehicle mechanic as a fault-finder which is very true as it fits perfectly well, in the second definition, unfortunately anyone can tell that if all someone accused him, they definitely did not accuse him of ‘investigating causes of malfunctioning in electronic equipments’ as that does not fit in the context. Therefore, the example of a motor vehicle mechanic to defend fault-find was out of the context and wrong because his accuser did not mean fault-finder in that sense.

This leaves us with the first definition which makes perfect sense, because if the so called apologists of Mutharika were to accuse the muckraker of fault-finding, they would definitely accuse him of ‘continual criticism on trivial things’ to do with the President.

Unfortunately for the Muckraker, this definition of fault-finding does not define the heroic and patriotic efforts of the statesman, Chakufwa Chihana and the Catholic Bishops that led the democratic struggle in 1992, which he referred to in his article, because these people were not ‘continuously criticising’ Dr Banda, the dictator ‘on trivial things.’ It was therefore, wrong and demeaning to describe these great men and martyrs as fault-finders. And they did not ransom our democracy by fault-finding. Men and women of Malawi that have fought for the safeguard of our democracy and its institutions and prevailed have had causes of national interests, not mere ‘continuous criticisms on trivial things.’ they cannot be called fault-finders.

Now, this takes us to my last and very important point, where the Muckraker in his misunderstood and wrongly contextualized meaning of fault-finding, called the Media a fault-finder. I understand and yet again respect the fact that Tenthani is a renowned member of the media fraternity in Malawi with an international repute, but that again is the reason he should have known better.

In a democracy, the media functions as a watchdog among its other essential roles. As a watchdog, the media keeps government and its institutions under strict surveillance, and expose the truth behind any assertions made by government, and ensure that public officers including the president are held accountable for their actions. And this very important role does not reduce the media to a mere fault-finder, as it is one of the fundamental determinants of a successful democracy. As a watchdog, the media does not engage in ‘continuous criticism on trivial things.’

And last on the Media, it is important to appreciate that the Media has the responsibility to inform and educate the public. To do this, members of the Media, especially journalist like Tenthani must ensure that they impart strictly accurate information in a balanced and objective manner as possible so that the people can make informed and intelligent decisions and choices. Balanced writing and objectivity of journalists determine the level of independence of the Media from political influence either by government or even the opposition.

Finally, Mr Tenthani, you are such a great talent to waste on mere fault-finding. Malawi needs more than fault-finders to sort out the current economic and political dilemmas. Fault-finding does not help anybody, because constant fault finding become personal attacks. Even in any type of relationship, marriage, courtship or even work related relationships, if one partner or colleague continuously find faults in the other, and has no time to compliment on efforts, and appreciate the good in others, the relationship is doomed to fail. Therefore, fault-finding is destructive and therefore not important to civilization, and not important to democracy, unless by fault-finders we mean motor vehicle mechanics.

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25 thoughts on “Fault-finding on Tenthani’s muckracking”

  1. MACHENDE AKE says:


  2. Charter says:

    Kodi che Lysan mulukambanji yapa? You don’t seem to understand the very philosophy of Tenthani’s writing despite that he has asserted it over and over. The guy is raking mud on those he thinks deserve it. You are wrong to attack him. You will be right just to articulate your viewpoints on the issues you disagree with him. It seems to me you are trying to muzzle the writer!

  3. Scelo says:

    What I know is that every Sunday I look forward to the Muckracker’s page and find his articles relevant and mind bugling as for you Lyson please try to make your name using your original material and not by fault finding other journalists material. As Tenthani’s audience we are so sastified by his articles and frankly speaking we care less about a chibanzi journalist opinion!

  4. Mngoni says:

    Lyson, you are a shameful journalist and if malawi is sinking in its poverty its because of people like you. If you got nothing to write just keep your dirty gully shut. How did you find yourself in that field, we need your papers man! Am afraid you are making me to start fault-finding you. Why don’t you build your own articles for people to read, where is your talent man! You have just wasted my time and if malawi was some country on the other side of mediterranean see I would surely sue you my friend to pay back my lost time for reading your piece of trash. I like people who would sit and come up with their own stuff, those that can show case their abilities not taking advantage of someone’s abilities. Ukufuna utchukire pa Raphael Tenthani???
    Wanya nazo and you can take away your article, I will never read your trash again. Tamapangani zanu ena aphunzireko mtima wa usavi basi!
    Raph.., carry on with your good works, ife timakunyadirani, you talk issues, you open up our minds with your intelligence and provoke thinking in us, if all journalists would think like that our media would be a best thing ever!

  5. Anansi says:

    This Orang-ou’tan named Raphael is a disgruntled stinking primate out for revenge for favours unachieved. In his badly shaped and crooked skull he fantasises sitting next to the Head of State looking regal et all. Dreaming. It’s good to dream -it’s tax-free. But the real world operates differently. These primates who think 2 +2 =7 must just shut the f..ck up and spare us the bullshit. All they know is to chase trends. So and So are at State House because they were fierce critics of the system so I will do the same to find myself up there. They forget one thing: those who “senselessly criticised their way to State House” did so under the leaderships of uneducated people like the woman some people are arse-licking. Now it’s different. This primate Raphael can critisise all he can, but he remains where he is. This truly educated man at the top won’t dance to orang-ou’tan shit. It usually is wise to accept you are a flop than to waste your energies clamouring for stuff you can’t get. After all the damage this dragon Hilda has inflicted on this country, some morons have the guts to call her a global icon. This zombie deserves a date with the hang-man. And the rest of you hero-worshippers get unbodied. You are wasting valuable space in the Warm Heart of Africa.

  6. M'ngoni wa pa Ntcheu says:

    The way this witer has displayed his arguments, definitions from dictionaries and then mention of trivial bla bla bla, from objective point of view, I conclude that he is leaning a certain side which means something(money or tribe or party affiliation) has influenced him, he is immature in his grey matter with his shallow thinking. Go back to school mr bla bla bla trivial

  7. makiyolobasi says:

    Noone asked Mutharika to run for Presidency of the Republic of Malawi. It was his own ambition and in a democracy, fault finding is the order of the day. African politicians promise alot during campaingn but deliver only 0.1% of their promises.

  8. Baba wa Boyi says:


    What I read of the comments is pure “Woolf pack” mentality which Malawians are very famous for.

    “Lyson is a terrible journalist” how dare he critise Tenthani? really? and just because he has critisised Tenthani, he becomes a Muthalika apologist?, apologist! are you sure?

    Its a shame, in Malawi you can not have a meaningful discuission on anything, Malawians minds are so closed and one track it is unbelievable.

    If ever there was a nation full of dogma, Malawi takes the biscuit.

    There is Factual writing, Fictional writing,Academic writing, Satirical writing and many more.

    But If you ask Malawians they will tell you without batting an eye lid that what Lyson has written is fiction. Such is the depth of understanding of most Malawians.

    When one criticises, they are not criticising the person but the action, people act differently at different times.

    Are you telling me that tenthani never has a bad day? when he cocks up?

    In fact I would also argue that Tenthani used the word apologist out of context, so maybe he has a problem using words in context, or he knows who he is writing for too well.

  9. Sibande my friend ! Raphael ukulimbana nayeyo is an accomplished journalist ndipo iweyo ukuchepa ukunama uli kutali kwambiri Olo APM atakupatsa ma Billion angati we want love you like we love Raphael because unlike you he worked his way up the ladder whilst you are just bootlicking to make financial gains Pepa m’bale wanga if you thought journalism was as easy as Eating Nsima walemba m’madzi coz from the look of things nobody seems to like your hullabaloo (Noisy Useless Arguments) of yours in fact you should be very ashamed of yourself Go back to school and study something that would bring positive returns to the Nation osati Mbwelera zakozi ayi Mxiiiii

  10. Ineyo says:

    Kkkkkkkk. This Sibande Lyson guy is a complete shame. I didnt even take time to read through his madness soon after he did the dictionery thing up there.

    This is a true APM apologist, just like Sheikh Idriss.

    Viva Tanthani.

  11. Philosopher says:

    stupid writer! first you have to know that Tenthani as a Journalist he has the right to give new meanings to any word, thus journalism if you do not know ! if i were you, i would have brought up what i see to be an error in Ralph Ten writing, and not what you are talking. And largely you work just prove what Raphael said that, “there are some people who get angry on behalf of others”.

  12. Mugonapamhanya says:

    You people who are up against Raphael Tethani should understand one thing. When people are aging they crave for power and influence which our dear Bro Tethani dying to have. He is such a desperate old man who is aging so fast yet he doesn’t have anything to show for it. You know Malawians are not creative enough, what he envisions is that if Bright Malopa, and Brian Banda were rewarded for being rude to a previous regime the he himself will one day find himself at State House. Hey! Wake up Mr Tethani, get a life, stop dreaming and start leaving. You are such a boring man even though I am MCP myself.

  13. munthu wa munthu says:

    tiyeni nazoni ma professionals okha okha kumasulana kachitidwe muckracker woyeee a tenthani woyeeee , a inocent woyeeee, a Vuto woyeeee, a msasa woyeeee

  14. The Truthful One from the West says:

    A very useless article by Mr Sibande. He is a DPP bootlicker. In Malawi the DPP government is secretive and fond of hiding of vital information. Peter Mutharika himself failed to justify why he was living in a very expensive hotel in New York. Secondly because govt controls huge resources it has numerous handclappers including numerous advisors who are always ready to clap hands for it. For example these handclappers would not be happy if I tell them that the Nsanje Inland Port is a white elephant that will never materialise because it is a multimodal transport system which is an expensive system of transporting goods. Moreover it is a total lie that it will end Malawi’s landlockedness because the route passes through another country-Mozambique. Any country that has to pass through another country to send and receive its goods whether through water, air and land routes is landlocked. Tenthani is therefore doing an excellent job. Look at MBC under Peter Mutharika it has even become more dull. The Good Morning program on MBC TV is a serious joke as day after day it full of pastors and prophets advertising revival prayers and healing sessions. And to appear on MBC you have to praise Peter Mutharika and DPP.

  15. czar says:

    This sibande is stupid. Fortunately I don’t want to know you. You can even ask why do people sit in stands when watching football? I thot they are supposed to stand….. More fire Tenthani… More fire

  16. Voter says:


  17. Kwao konko says:

    Seems the writer of this article is intimidated by the muckracker ….shame!One of Mutharikas apologists,how many are you?How many are u?One thing,Tenthani is on fire,azakutenthani.

  18. GaluMtsukwa says:

    If I was Tenthani I would be very happy with this article such that I wouldnt even think of responding to it at anytime in the future. By not responding to this article Tenthani is gonna show that this Sibande guy is irrelevant. On the contrary Sibande has just proved what we all know and that is that Tenthani is actually relevant. Thanks Sibande for proving all the doubters wrong about the relevance of Tenthani.

    1. John says:

      Every Tom and Dick wants to muckrack Tenthani. Malawian politics has so much drama and content to write about that,,,, but no, they want to make their name by writing/commenting on Tenthani. So funny, proving their own irrelevance if Tenthani is not mentioned, as you have so rightly said.

  19. kanchenga says:

    On the contrary in a situation where there are too many hand clappers like you it is a special bonus to this country to have fault finders like tenthani. They help to sieve trash news that hand clappers like you would like the nation believe. Please read what you have written in the paragraph starting with the words ( in a democracy the media functions as a watchdog…….) and then ask yourself if you are telling us what you wanted to say or you have confused yourself. Abwana ndalamazi zibvuta zedi kudya kwake chifukwa a malawi siopusa ngati kale. Muzioneka opusa ndinu mukapanda kuchenjera. You see a thief can buy anything on earth except Pearce of the heart. It is this Pearce of mind that troubles you when Tenthani exposes these faults in this thief of a president. One day ask him how it feels to read about people calling him a thief who stole the election.

    1. John says:

      He is just a stupid fault-finder who did not even know what this word mean, thanks to the dictionary. Don’t waste your breathe on him. How many so called “journalists” have tried to take Tenthani on? Remember the other “guy” a couple of months ago? Alikuti pano?

  20. We are one says:

    A very good written article. Just tonight, a certain prophet on a certain TV channel was saying even Paul in the Bible had such people. He said there are some people, who can’t even have a peaceful sleep unless they see someone failing and falling, without any apparent reason for that matter. . These men in the Bible vowed not to eat or drink until they saw the downfall of Paul. Unfortunately, Paul did not fail and fall. One wonders what happened next upon taking such a vow. In Malawi, similarly, today we have a crop of people who are hell bent to sow seeds of confusion and disunity. If they see people moving downhill, they decide to move uphill and vice-versa. If they think things are not going their way, they start mobilizing people the Scotland way! But my other preacher one day said, do not be scared by fault-finders or backbiters because they will always trail behind you to occupy their rightful position of biting your back! I also respect men who fight using a pen’ like Mr Tenthani, but when one always fights everything that you do, people tend to wonder what they are up to. Unfortunately, Mr Tenthani is reducing himself to a mere fault-finder and not an accomplished journalist! Am sorry to say this! Fortunately, such men/women will never succeed. Several examples in the Bible, Joseph’s story, Mordecai’s story, etc etc and even Jesus himself had fault-finders and is still having them now. But thank God that those who dig a pit for someone, they fall into the very same pit themselves. This is how Good my God is!

  21. John says:

    Hahahaha. I love Malawi. Is Tenthani such a threat to all of you journalist that you can’t write your own things but “fault-find” by hunting him? Remember a couple of months ago another so called journalist tried to earn some points on his reputation by muck-racking Tenthani, but as of today, I have forgotten what his name was? I understand, it is hard to make your OWN MARK out there but choosing to be trodding into Tenthani’s exposes your own incapacities even further. You have said in your definitions that “fault-finding” means bla bla bla …..”trivial things”. Now, to who are they called “trivial”? Let me answer it for you, it is to those who accuse(read are scared) of the muckracker. Now Mr attention seeker, you got two options here, one, gain people’s attention by coming up with your own things to write about. Two, understand that the fault-finding is seen trivial only from the accused side. That is why people like you( or your boss) dont like the muckracker.. But wait,,,,you mean you went to search in the dictionery what “fault-finding” means? Oh my word, am not surprised of your shallowness though. Even a first grader could have told you what it means.

  22. eye eye says:

    Lyson, my understanding is that ‘fault-finding’ was not used in the literal or standard 7 gramatcal sense as your analysis potrays….it is somehow colloquial..like saying Bata clobber or whip Wanderers 4-0…..this does not mean that Bata maule took a stick/whip to whip Wanderers’ bums 4 times……..

    1. John says:

      Awuze eye eye! This guy is sooo ridiculous he even went looking for a dictionery to check what fault-finding means! How low do journalist stoop to earn/elevate their name? Hahahaha. And he is saying ge us a journalist, koma sakuwiza whether a word is used in a colloquial or literally.

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