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

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

129 manner that

129 manner that resonates with the majority will find easier it to offer treatment recommendations and to greatly influence the outcome of a debate. With respect to editorial writers, adding their political voice to the definition of the problem would enable them to offer their solutions to the country‟s problems in addition to the many solutions being offered by various political entities in the country As noted above, the parliamentary Moral Evaluation components were dominant among the frame components across all frames. Moral judgements drew on political values and cultural values of communality, service to society and preservation of human dignity. The parliamentary discourse drew on the national collective memory and condemnation of human rights abuses under the MCP. Further, positive moral evaluations were also based on the celebration of the democratic values with their inherent benefits for the nation. Moral evaluation also took the form of corrective prescriptive statements regarding safeguarding democracy and providing equal opportunities for all Malawians regardless of region or tribe. This is in agreement with Carrier and Miller (1998) who argue that moral generalisations help to steer decision- makers in correcting perceived wrongs using political and financial means. 4.5.2 Newspapers‟ Political Alignment and the Public Sphere This sub-section discusses the influence of the political binaries existing in the country on the discourse in newspapers. The sub-section examines how the BNL newspapers were influenced by cues from leaders of the MCP/AFORD alliance while the Nation and the Chronicle were influenced by cues from UDF leaders. In the end, both newspapers and parliament became communicative fora of two opposing political forces.

130 4.5.2.1 Opposition Journalism in the BNL Newspapers Using the Unity Frames in the parliamentary corpus and the newspapers corpus as an example, it is clear that the question of unity, as it appeared in the BNL newspapers, was driven by the MCP/AFORD alliance. For example, Gwanda Chakuamba, the Vice- President of the MCP, expressed concern regarding this issue in May less than 36 hours after former President Dr Hastings Kamuzu Banda conceded defeat. The president of the AFORD, Chakufwa Chihana, also spoke of his concern regarding the issue the very next day. The BNL newspapers then took up the mantra of the “threat to national security”, (Nyekanyeka, 1994, p.1) repeating the phrase in 11 different editorials and columns. The parliamentary Unity Frame draws its problem definition from nine paragraphs. Three of these paragraphs argue that the outcome of the 1994 elections revealed the divisions and disunity of the nation. The equivalent editorials frame has the same argument coded five times. In the causal interpretation component of the frame in parliament, the MCP/AFORD alliance identified the UDF as being responsible for disrupting unity efforts in the country. Further, the MCP/AFORD alliance chided the UDF and President Bakili Muluzi for being unable or unwilling to unify the nation as is desired for leaders. This aspect appeared 16 times in the parliamentary corpus. It was an aspect echoed by the BNL newspapers 11 times. The BNL newspapers repeated the charge 19 times in various forms. 4.5.2.2 The Nation and the Chronicle: Government Journalism In framing governance and the new democratic era, The Nation and the Chronicle took their cue from the ruling UDF. The basic argument of the UDF in the National

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