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

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

143 Moral Evaluation

143 Moral Evaluation component had nine paragraphs. The Treatment Recommendation component had 14 paragraphs (See Table 5.1). It is worth noting that all newspapers expressed dissatisfaction with the MEC‟s handling of the election. However, there was a clear divide in the framing of the electoral process with the BNL stable and the Chronicle arguing that the MEC and the UDF had colluded to, not only mismanage the election, but also defraud the opposition of victory. On the other hand, while the NPL stable agreed that the election had been mismanaged, they latched on to the declaration by the international observers that the election even though not fair had been generally free. 5.2.2.1 BNL Newspapers and Chronicle The main arguments in this component were encapsulated in six paragraphs that zeroed in on the incompetence of the MEC in administering the elections (See Table 5.4). The BNL newspapers and the Chronicle listed issues such as the voter registration exercise that disenfranchised people in the Central Region and the Northern Region, the UDF‟s monopoly on the MBC and the suspect tallying of ballot papers. Jamieson (1999, p.3) noted concerning the whole electoral process: It was a close race – whose results were made more unacceptable because of the anomalies and inconsistencies throughout. No wonder there is a challenge in court right now. That is as it should be. There were six other paragraphs dealing generally with the legal and constitutional problems associated with the outcome of the election results (See Table 5.4). The constitution itself was found lacking as it does not provide for a second round of voting in the event of a winner failing to achieve 51% of the cast votes. Namingha (1999, p.3) questioned the legitimacy of Muluzi‟s presidency:

144 Malawi today stands a confused nation. It is not clear whether or not Muluzi‟s presidency is constitutional because he did not attain the majority status as per the supreme law of the land, the Constitution. Table 5.4: Electoral Process Frame in the BNL newspapers and the Chronicle Problem Definition Presenters Paragraphs Article MEC‟s mismanagement of the election All Newspapers 6 (50%) 6 High Court‟s ruling on the election outcome BNL/Chronicle 3 (25%) 3 „First past the post‟ is the problem BNL/Chronicle 3 (25%) 3 Total Causal Interpretation 12 (100%) 12 The MEC & election monitoring BNL/Chronicle 5 (62.5%) 5 The President/UDF are ungracious winners BNL/Chronicle 3 (37.5%) 3 Total Moral Evaluation 8 (100%) 8 The MEC lack knowledge of the extent of its powers BNL/Chronicle 3 (33.3%) 3 The Judiciary is confused BNL/Chronicle 3 (33.3%) 3 The President/UDF are ungracious winners BNL/Chronicle 3 (33.3%) 3 Total Treatment Recommend. 9 (100%) 9 The High Court must decide BNL/Chronicle 4 (40%) 4 Replace the MEC BNL/Chronicle 3 (30%) 3 Non-partisan statesmen should rise mediate BNL/Chronicle 3 (30%) 3 Total 10 (100%) 10 By way of causal interpretations, in five paragraphs, the BNL newspapers and the Chronicles blamed the MEC for mismanaging the elections. As one editorial writer argued: If the leadership is chosen by God and there was no deception, how come the Electoral Commission is refusing to open the records for inspection by interested parties. (Malawi News, 1999b, p.2).

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