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

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

109 Results of the

109 Results of the presidential and parliamentary general elections show a great deal about how strongly people of this country feel about a president‟s area of origin. Not surprisingly, even though the MCP was happy to use the BNL newspapers to express their reservation about the new system of governance, they did not express any such reservations on the National Assembly floor. To do so would have been to go against an obviously popular system of governance chosen in a national referendum and solidified during the 17 th May elections. Table 4.13: Governance Frame as presented by the BNL Newspapers Problem Definitions Presenters Paragraphs Articles Multiparty politics is alien and divisive BNL Newspapers 7 (46.7%) 6 Total 7 (100%) 6 Moral Evaluations Presenters Paragraphs Articles Democracy is being used to oppress past leaders BNL Newspapers 3 (50%) 3 Educate the masses about democracy BNL Newspapers 3 (50%) 3 Total 6 (100%) 6 The BNL newspapers raised negative moral evaluations about the manner of politics in the country (See Table 4.13). The newspapers charged that the new leaders were using democracy to oppress the leaders of the MCP. Three times, the BNL newspapers cited examples of inquiries into the previous regime, firing of civil servants who were perceived to be sympathetic to the MCP, the confiscation of Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda‟s property, by-elections called in MCP constituencies and harsh anti- MCP rhetoric in the state broadcast media (See Table 4.13). The writer of an editorial in the Daily Times (1994d) noted:

110 Even though the UDF-led government speaks the language of democracy and respecting Kamuzu, we know that they do not intend to do this. They have continued to harass the former president and to disrupt MCP rallies. Perhaps rooted in the increasing violence directed at MCP rallies in the Southern Region, three times the BNL newspapers called on the government to educate the people about the true nature of democracy (See Table 4.13). The BNL newspapers argued that even the MCP had the right of free speech and expression. The writer of an editorial in the Daily Times (1994d) noted: It is the government‟s job to take over and educate its people on what the new Malawi is all about and what else is contained in its democratic package . . . The preceding discussion demonstrates the newspapers and the political parties‟ commitment to democracy. While the Nation and the Chronicle with the UDF were clearly enthused about the new political dispensation in Malawi, the BNL newspapers and the MCP were, at least, ambivalent of the benefits that could be accrued by such a system. This is evident in the complaints they expressed about the new system. This, in turn, demonstrates the editorial alignment of the newspapers to different political parties and their ideological positions in the post-elections period. 4.3.3 Discussion of the Overarching Frames This sub-section discusses the framing tools used by newspapers and MPs in constructing the frames presented above. These tools include magnifying some frames at the expense of others, de-emphasizing other frames to reduce their importance among newspaper readers, and increasing the consonance of some frames by priming them through cultural values and news values such as personification.

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