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

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

5.5 Conclusion 169

5.5 Conclusion 169 Regarding the first research question, the findings in the 1999 case study reveal five frames. Three of these were detected in the newspapers corpus. These are the Unity Frame, the Electoral Process Frame and the Consequences Frame. All of the frames are rooted in the political context created by the outcome of the elections. The Unity Frame arose out of manifest voting patterns which revealed the citizens‟ preference of candidates with similar regional and ethnic roots. The Electoral Process Frame emerged out of editorial writers‟ dissatisfaction with the management of the elections. The Consequences Frame offered predictions of suffering which citizens would face as a result of the UDF‟s disputed victory at the polls. Reflecting the uncontested nature of parliamentary debate, the frames in the parliamentary corpus were self-congratulatory on the part of the UDF. The Extended Mandate Frame was presented as approval from the electorate for the first five years of UDF rule. The Leadership Frame simply portrayed Muluzi as an efficient and divinely appointed leader. Regarding interpretation, the frames in the newspapers corpus drew strongly on cultural values even though the Unity Frame revealed dissonance with traditional cultural values. The frames also drew on news values such as negativity and conflict in the Unity and the Consequences Frames. In essence, both the Extended Mandate Frame and the Leadership Frame reflected the UDF‟s claim to exclusive ownership of democratic values. It is worth noting here that the two corpora produced frames that were incomparable across the corpora. The frames in the parliamentary corpus were unashamedly self-congratulatory and almost irrelevant to the experience of Malawian citizens. They failed to provide an agenda for national advancement. Apart from being

170 self-congratulatory, they simply exposed the unyielding nature of Malawian politics when the UDF MPs still found it necessary to excoriate the vanquished MCP who had lost power in 1994. On the other hand, the newspapers frames revealed a nation struggling with real issues arising out of a flawed election process including ethnically motivated violence and a deteriorating economy. With reference to the second research question, newspapers‟ ownership continued to play a deciding role in the framing of issues. The BNL newspapers continued their anti-UDF/government framing reflective of the MCP position. The Chronicle‟s framing was also reflected in the owner‟s dissatisfaction with the UDF and the government in matters of governance. On the other hand, the NPL newspapers framed issues in favour or in defence of the UDF. Aleke Banda‟s position as First Deputy President of the UDF and senior cabinet minister may have had much to do with this editorial position.

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