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

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

115 Bourgault (1995,

115 Bourgault (1995, p.4-5). All the frames in this case study demonstrate how the presenting newspapers and Members of Parliament attempted to make them relevant to the Malawian people by drawing on the traditional cultural values and the new political culture with its democratic values. The MCP/AFORD alliance MPs in parliament were able to draw on cultural values of community harmony in crafting the Unity Frame in the National Assembly. The UDF was clearly presented as the party against unity for rejecting the AFORD‟s overtures for unity before the election and for refusing to work with the MCP after the elections. The AFORD MP, Chipimpha Mughogho (1994) noted: . . . do not forget that there was one time we preached the word of nation building. . . . what did we get in the end? Tribalism, regionalism and what have you. According to the quote above, the AFORD (represented by “we”) was clearly presented as having had the foresight to warn the other parties of impending division. More importantly, the MP draws attention to the search for unity which his party began long before the elections. Thus, the AFORD MPs were able to both acknowledge the problem of unity and apportion blame to the UDF for the problem. In essence, the BNL newspapers crafting of the Unity Frame and the Leadership Frame reveal those issues that are counter to Malawian societal values of communality rather than individualism and competition. According to the BNL newspapers, these values were operational during the one party era but were shattered by the outcome of the general election. One editorial writer in the Daily Times (1994a, p.2) noted: Malawians were one nation . . . We have walked, talked, ate, quarrelled, and worked like members of one big family. . . . But can we sincerely say

116 the same of today‟s change? What is it that will now make us feel closer? A new face in power or the accessibility of hitherto forbidden enviable? According to the writer of the above article, not only had national unity been shattered, there was now nothing else within Malawian societal values and norms that could hold this nation together. This way of framing unity was a feature of the BNL newspapers as evidenced by the 18 coded paragraphs in the 14 of the 29 articles drawn from the BNL newspapers discussing national unity (See Table 4.3). The culturally embedded priming in this case study reveals the struggle to define, craft and appropriate the new governance system in a manner that suited Malawians. The competition and individual rights embodied in the new system were seen as being at variance with the community values prevalent in Malawian society. With 31 paragraphs coded to it, the BNL newspapers contributed 13 paragraphs that were mainly complaints against democracy and its non-compliance with Malawian societal values. One editorial writer noted: What this means is that the entire issue of human rights is alien to an unsophisticated non-industrialised developing country like Malawi. Only certain parts of that package will be adopted in as far as they establish immediate relevance to living styles of peoples of this country (Daily Times, 1994d, p.2). Another editorial writer in the same newspaper noted: Political scholars are already predicting that it will take at least ten years before Malawians begin to feel comfortable with the multiparty system of government they have chosen (Daily Times, 1994e, p.2). The real critical question is whether or not Malawian society, on whose values the BNL newspapers based their framing, was listening. After all, these were the same

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