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

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

195 Moral evaluations

195 Moral evaluations which drew on biblical exemplar and metaphor were also applied when describing the abilities of the former UDF administration led by Bakili Muluzi. For example, John Tembo (2004), the president of the MCP noted on the National Assembly floor: Mr. Second Deputy Speaker, Sir, forgive me for making this statement. But sometimes I shudder to imagine what Malawi would be like if the last administration was the first administration in 1964. It would be like the biblical sandy foundation. This kind of narrative, which placed divine appointment on Mutharika‟s presidency, was not limited to the National Assembly. Even the press used that narrative in approval of the new president‟s economic agenda. The new president was dubbed, with reference to the Bible, as “the stone which the builders rejected but later became a corner stone.” (Nsapato, 2004a, p.4). This was a clear reference to the press and civil society‟s initial negative attitude towards Mutharika. Another reason why Mutharika, as a politician, was so acceptable to the opposition, especially the MCP, was his own stated willingness to give credit to the late former president, Dr. Hastings Kamuzu Banda. It was, by design or default, a clever political move because it created goodwill for Mutharika among MCP MPs. Most of these MCP MPs came from the Central Region where the late dictator was still deeply respected. The MCP MPs credited Mutharika with fairness which Nancy Tembo (2004, p.55) called “Umunthu”. The metaphor or exemplar of “Umunthu” is the local variation of the general concept of “Ubuntu” prevalent in Southern Africa. The general concept is the basis of African communal cultural life. According to Nussbaum (2003, p.2), it expresses:

196 . . . our interconnectedness, our common humanity and the responsibility to each other that deeply flows from our deeply felt connection . . . . and capacity in African culture to express companion, reciprocity, dignity, harmony and humanity in the interest of building and maintaining community with justice and mutual caring. By this concept of “Umunthu”, Nancy Tembo, bestowed on Mutharika the complete attributes of human goodness that identified him not only with the larger community he would govern. Obviously, one of the reasons of using this concept may have been to demonstrate what may have been a perception of the MCP that failure by the UDF to credit the late Dr. Banda with some modicum of success was uncultured and unfair. In short, the National Assembly looked forward to better leadership rooted in vision, divine guidance and a concern for others. 6.3.3.3 Defining Election Mandates and its Effect on the Challenges Frames The frame was similar to the Consequences Frame in the 1999 case study. However, there was one major difference between the two. The Consequences Frame of 1999 tended to look forward without any hope of remedies for the economic woes the country was facing. On the other hand, the Challenges Frames of 2004 tended to outline the economic problems facing the nation while expressing hope in the new president‟s ability to solve these problems. This hope was, of course, based on the new president‟s stated agenda. The Challenges Frame‟s problem definition was particularly framed to resonate with ordinary working Malawians in the urban areas. It drew attentions to basic issues affecting citizens‟ ordinary life such as the loss of public finances through corruption, fiscal indiscipline across all levels of government, high taxes and incompetent

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