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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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!


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!

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… Read more »
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… Read more »
M'ngoni wa pa Ntcheu

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


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.

Baba wa Boyi
OMG! 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… Read more »
Uchitsiru Sasekana
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… Read more »

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.

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