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

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

179 highest rank in the

179 highest rank in the UDF National Executive Committee. Second, Mutharika was not even in the UDF National Executive Committee which signified his lack of influence in party policy. Third, Mutharika had been personally chosen by Muluzi to be the UDF‟s presidential candidate in the 2004 election. In this respect, the editorial writers surmised that Mutharika would be a mere proxy of Muluzi. Table 6.3: Problem definitions in the newspapers‟ Leadership Frame Problem Definition Newspapers Paragraphs Articles Muluzi wants to control Mutharika BNL 5 (45.4%) 5 NPL 4 (36.4%) 4 Chronicle 2 (18.2%) 2 Total 11 (100%) 11 Mutharika must avoid Muluzi‟s mistakes BNL 3 (37.5%) 3 NPL 3 (37.5%) 3 Chronicle 2 (25%) 2 Total 8 (100%) 8 Thus, the main concern for newspaper editorials was that the new president would not be able to govern from his own accord. Rather, he could have to take dictates from his party and the former president as Mwase (2004, p.3) noted in the Chronicle: “Mutharika‟s new cabinet includes a good number of ministers from the previous government which shows that Muluzi is still pulling some strings.” Another editorial writer noted in the Nation (2004a, p4): “We can‟t help the feeling that Muluzi is manipulating the affairs of government.” In the Malawi News (2004a, p2.), an editorial writer noted: “The word „consult‟ should not mean dependence on Muluzi.” Thus, all the newspapers were united in expressing sentiments that the former president was being permitted to manipulate state affairs. This concern was expressed in 11 editorials (See Table 6.3) across all the newspapers under study from the 34 articles contributing to the frame. Linked to the above were concerns that by taking orders from Muluzi, President Mutharika was simply going to repeat the same mistakes which Muluzi had

180 committed in the course of his presidency. This aspect of the problem definition was repeated nine times across all the newspapers (See Table 6.3 above). The newspapers cited two main causal interpretations in this frame. First, as it became clear that the new president was following an agenda that was quite unpopular in the ruling UDF, a rift between the new president and the ruling party became evident. The newspapers accused the UDF and former president, Bakili Muluzi, of attempting to undermine the new president and his popular agenda as one editorial writer urged Mutharika: “. . . to avoid making the same mistakes made by the former president whose record of achievement is subject to challenge.” (Chronicle, 2004a, p.1). The newspapers advanced this argument 14 times across all newspapers understudy in 34 articles (See Table 6.4). Second, the newspapers blamed the former president and his government for being incompetent resulting in the crisis in leadership. This argument was advanced 10 times across all the newspapers in the 34 articles contributing to the frame (See Table 6.4). Table 6.4: Causal Interpretations in the newspapers‟ Leadership Frame Causal Interpretations Presenters Paragraphs Articles Muluzi and the UDF undermining Mutharika BNL 5 (20.8%) 5 Chronicle 3 (12.5%) 3 NPL 6 (25%) 4 Total 14 (58.3%) 12 The Muluzi administration was incompetent BNL 3 (12.5%) 3 Chronicle 3 (12.5%) 3 NPL 4 (16.7%) 4 Total 10 (52.7%) 10 Total 24 (100%) There were 34 paragraphs advanced in the Moral Evaluation component of the frame in the newspapers (See Table 6.5). The main thrust was that Mutharika was competent as a president and deserved better support than he was receiving from his

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