Freelance journalist Raphael Tenthani has said State House or the Ministry of Information must not mistake his gesture to donate the K50,000 he received after attending an interface with President Peter Mutharika to the special fund journalists created to assist veteran journalist Limbani Moya’s kidney transplant in India as mocking them.
Speaking after presenting the donation to the fund’s chairman Anthony Kasunda in Blantyre, Tenthani said he decided to donate the money because journalists did not deserve the hefty allowance just for attending the Sanjika Palace meeting last week Tuesday.
“We were given the impression that we are going to receive a booklet detailing President Mutharika’s vision of a free press in Malawi only to discover the package included a blank notepad, a pen and an envelope containing K50,000,” he said.
Tenthani said nobody explained what the money was for.
“I would like to believe that the money was given in good faith and, in my view, it would have been disrespectful to return it. But I believe we did not deserve it so, since we already got it, I have decided to give it to somebody who really needs assistance at the moment,” he said.
Minister of Information Kondwani Nankhumwa announced that before leaving the palace the invited journalists should collect a folder which contained President Mutharika’s vision for a free press in Malawi.
But to the surprise of the journalists the folder contained an embossed folder with President Mutharika insignia but with a blank notepad inside, a Mutharika personalised pen and an envelope containing the money.
The journalist, who strings for a number of international media houses including the BBC, AP and PANA, said there are worthy causes such money can be used for including referring patients outside the country for specialised treatment.
“That is why I have decided to donate the money to the Limbani fund,” he said.
Tenthani, with nearly two decades of local and international reporting under his arm, nonetheless said government must be frugal how it uses money in these austerity times.
“Money is never enough to anybody, even Peter Mutharika or Barack Obama – even Bill Gates or Aliko Dangote – but at least I can afford a decent life by my own considered standards. There are more worthy causes the K50,000s that was splashed on the 100 journalists that Tuesday could have gone to,” he said.
Receiving the donation, Kasunda thanked Tenthani and encouraged others to do the same.
“Let’s help our friend, Limbani, in his time of need,” he said.
Moya, who has worked for both Times Group of Companies and Nation publications Limited, flew to India earlier this month and has a shortfall of K1.25m to complete his operation.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :