Malawi flagship online news source, Nyasa Times has named “Malawi media” and journalist Raphael Tenthani as its ‘Person of the Year’ for work in informing the masses during the year of elections, playing rightful role as public watchdog and also keeping the nation updated on cashgate scandal.
The Nyasa Times introduced the ‘Person of the Year’ accolade in 2010 and it was first given to the then Vice President Joyce Banda and then declared 2011 as the ‘Year of the Protestor’ in recognition of those who took part in the July 20 and 21 demonstrations as well as those who fought for academic freedom.
In 2012 Nyasa Times named General Henry Odillo of Malawi Defence Force as the person who had the greatest impact on the country for “leading the Malawi army to defend the Constitution” after the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) orchestrated a failed “constitutional coup d’état” following the death of Mutharika.
In 2013, Nyasa Times named Consumer Association of Malawi (Cama) executive director John Kapito as person of the year because he consistently spoke against bad social, economic and political policies that impact negatively on consumer.
Announcing the 2014 ‘person of the year’, Nyasa Times editorial management said the publication sought nomination from various reputable commentators and analysts to nominate and give reasons.
“Based on the nominations from dozens of analysts, Nyasa Times selected Malawi media and journalist Raphael Tenthani as joint winners of the Persons of the Year accolade,” the online publication said.
The media has been recognised in the way it reported on the elections and giving balanced coverage on the worse corruption scandal in the country christened as Cashgate,
Minister of Information, Kondwani Nankhumwa said on New Year’s eve that Malawi media “worked tirelessly” in making sure that Malawians are kept up to date with cash gate issues.
Nankhumwa commended media for reporting professionally in the first ever tripartite elections.
“During this period you did the nation proud and were the envy of the world when you reported courageously and professionally during Malawi’s first ever Tripartite General Elections in May 2014. Both the private and public media did a good job deserving our appreciation,” said Nankhumwa.
Nankhumwa said cashgate and tripartite elections were a benchmark among many commendable acts of professional and courageous reporting that as a country must aim to follow in daily operations.
Prominent journalist Tenthani has been recognised for “speaking truth to power.”
He told Nyasa Times after being told of the recognition that he was” surprised, if not humbled”.
Said Tenthani: ”It’s encouraging to realise that the little things one does are recognised and appreciated.”
Tenthani is widely recognised as the most important Malawian journalist and columnist writing today.
“He is a walking barometer of the Malawian political mood. He analyses Malawi’s political leadership with an even-handedness that is as clear as it is penetrating. He is very cool headed, which makes his writing uniquely persuasive. He accepts and appreciates criticism and responds in a calm-headed way, never losing his temper or looking down upon his detractors,” education expert and academic Dr Steve Sharra said of Tenthani.
Sharra said Tenthani is a “walking encyclopedia” of contemporary Malawian political history, remembering facts that are easily forgotten by the public but that have a poignant relevance to day to day life in Malawi’s politics.
“Presidents have come and presidents have gone, but his talented pen and keen eye for piercing language have always provided level-headed reflections and analyses that speak for millions of Malawians,” he noted.
The Nyasa Times ‘person of the year’ runner-ups included Justice Kenyatta Nyirenda , Charles Chuka the current Governor of Reserve Bank of Malawi, Timothy Mtambo(CHRR executive director), lawmaker Julianna Lunguzi and singer Lawi.
Commenting on Justice Nyirenda, University of Malawi political science professor Boniface Dulani noted that while there was so much legal and political uncertainty in the days following the May 20 elections, his ruling just before midnight on May 30th, 2014 cleared the stage for Peter Mutharika’s declaration as the new President.
“This decision cleared the last legal hurdle for the first electoral turnover in the office of President in Malawi’s post-transition era,” said Dulani
Chuka, the current Governor of Reserve Bank of Malawi was amongst the runners up for maintaining his cool in the heat of economic trouble. He has not wobbled to political pressure and has presided over a transition in monetary policy from Joyce Banda to Mutharika.
He’s one of a few people to be maintained, which explains his mettle. While it might be said he’s only a proxy of the un radical approach to monetary policy by APM administration, he has executed the same with cool headedness.
In some instances, Chuka has not hesitated to say the truth; that he was not surprised to see the kwacha depreciating rapidly as it did. He simply posed the question; ;have our export base widened? If not, I’m not surprised, this should not surprise anyone and we should get used!”
Mtambo is recognised for being consistent as CHRR spokesperson and advocate during Tripartite
elections when there was silence from CSOs with other few supporting the electoral process. Mtambo stood strongly by questioning the credibility of the elections and was the first to declare that the elections were not credible during the same period and went further to question national and international observers who rushed to declare the elections free and fair before the announcement. He has been a vocal and active rights campaigner.
Malawi Congress Party (MCP) Lunguzi became one of the unners-up for she ran the most exciting campaign in 2014. She made the best use of social media, and reached out to people in her constituency and across the country, young and old. She is in touch with what the people she represents want.
She is very skilled in identifying opportunities for people in her constituency, securing scholarships for young Malawians in rural parts of Malawi where access to the Internet is non-existent. She is very generous of her time and resources.
Lunguzi educated a young man whom she had employed as a gardener, who excelled and went to the prestigious College of Medicine in the University of Malawi. Today that young man is a medical doctor.
In parliament, Lunguzi has provided leadership on matters of health and has, expectedly, taken on chairpersonship of the Parliamentary Health Committee. She is in very high demand across the country, being called upon to grace occasions relating to health. She is an inspiration to young Malawians, both girls and boys.
Singer Lawi (Francis Phiri) was amongst the runners up for opening up new, hitherto unknown savannah stretches of Malawian music talent. Not only is Lawi’s music beautiful, he has a golden voice that speaks volumes of natural talent. And he tells Malawian stories that make one proud to belong to the warm heart of Africa.
His music evokes beautiful memories of a rural innocent Malawian childhood, the serenity of farm work on a bright sunny morning, and the rhythm of our modern cities. He takes such great care of his studio work you hear pristine sounds of pure artistry and music genius in his productions. Lawi is at home in various Malawian genres people have trouble singling out which one is his best song. He was also nominated for All Africa Music Awards.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :