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Chapter Five 1999 Post-Elections Period - Leicester Research ...

Chapter Five 1999 Post-Elections Period - Leicester Research ...

101 Table 4.6 above

101 Table 4.6 above presents the BNL newspapers and the MCP/AFORD alliance treatment recommendations for this frame. The main treatment recommendation was to call for dialogue among the three parties represented in parliament and cessation of inflammatory speeches. This call claimed 14 paragraphs. There were other treatment recommendations. However, all of these tended to converge around this call for interparty dialog. These included calls for a government of national unity and educating the nation on the need for national unity. Others were more practical calling for unifying cultural events (See Table 4.6). The BNL newspapers call for cessation of inflammatory speeches and inter-party dialogue reflected the position of the MCP/AFORD alliance in the National Assembly corpus. There were 15 paragraphs coded to this aspect of the treatment recommendations. The MCP/AFORD alliance was held up as an example of how cooperation among the three parties should be in six paragraphs. There were four paragraphs that called for a government of national unity comprising of all the three parties (See Table 4.6). 4.3.1.2 The Nation and the Chronicle and the UDF The position of the Nation and the Chronicle was a bit more complex even though they had less to say about the matter of unity. While they acknowledged the problem of regionalism manifest in the voting patterns, they placed the blame elsewhere. They argued that the election and multiparty politics had simply exposed the deep divisions in the nation which the MCP government had ruthlessly concealed. This assertion was coded nine times in the newspapers corpus in particular in the Nation and the Chronicle‟s editorials (See Table 4.7). In this respect, the two newspapers argued that the MCP was attempting to cover up the past by evoking national unity and

102 reconciliation. This aspect was coded thrice (See Table 4.7). In this respect Msisha (1994) argued that: If people seek reconciliation and forgiveness they must confess to their evil deeds. They must give an account of their stewardship of the state when they were entrusted with this task. Table 4.7: Unity Frame‟s Problem Definitions in the Chronicle and the Nation Problem Definitions Presenters Paragraphs Articles Multiparty politics revealed Nation and 9 (75%) 9 inherent divisions Chronicle Stifling the search for the truth in Nation and 3 (30%) 3 the name of unity Chronicle Total 12 (100%) 12 In the National Assembly, the UDF refused to acknowledge that there was a problem with unity. This is demonstrated by the lack of paragraphs coded from UDF MPs acknowledging this problem. The two newspapers accused the opposition of being unwilling to accept their role as a responsible opposition. Instead, the newspapers accused the opposition of attempting to force the UDF into forming a government of national unity. There were three paragraphs coded to this aspect of the component. The other causal interpretation dismissed the issue of regional bias among the electorate. Instead, the Nation argued that parties did not field credible candidates who could win in the regions they lost. This argument was presented four times (See Table 4.8). Makwiti (1994, p.6) argued: . . . the voter considered only the merit of the party leader and chose to ignore the merit of the local constituency representative. In the few times the Nation and the Chronicle acknowledged that there was a problem with national unity, the two newspapers tended to blame the MCP for dividing the nation during its 31 years in power (See Table 4.8). There were two paragraphs

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