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

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

201 This problem

201 This problem inherent in the Constitution was portrayed as responsible for the emergence of a president elected by a minority of the voters. The problem was seen as a mockery to democratic principles. In this respect, Malawi was portrayed as unique among nations that practice democracy. Table 6.10: Problem Definitions and Causal Interpretations in the Electoral Process Frame Prob. Definitions/Causal Interp. Presenters Paragraphs Articles The MEC mismanaged the elections BNL 4 (22.2%) 4 Chronicle 3 (16.7%) 3 NPL 4 (22.2%) 4 Total 11 (61.1%) 11 „First past the post‟ is the problem BNL 3 (16.7%) 3 NPL 4 (22.2%) 4 Total 7 (38.9%) 7 Total 18 (100%) 18 As noted in the preceding discussion, the main thrust of this frame was the incompetence of the MEC leading to the mismanagement of the elections. The moral evaluations in the frame confirmed this labelling of the MEC as both incompetent and unethical in 11 coded paragraphs in the 11 speeches making up this frame (See Table 6.11). The writer of the Backbencher column in the Weekend Nation (2004) declared: I‟m not competent to determine if the Electoral Commission acted within the law but what I can determine for sure is that I have permanently lost confidence in it. Can they all go home, please? In the same spirit, Nhlane (2004, p.8) declared: It will be a big relief to the nation if the commission resigned out of its own volition for the mess it has caused. The only reason for its existence is to account for its mess. Apart from calling for the removal of the MEC, the newspapers also called for a review of the constitution and the laws governing elections in seven coded paragraphs

202 in the 11 speeches (See Table 6.11). This was in view of the „first past the post problem‟ and the incompetence of the MEC. In particular reference to the „first past the post problem‟, the Weekend Nation (2004c, p.4) made the observation that: . . . if the minority continue to rule the nation in the name of democracy, the nation would be on the way to dictatorship. Table 6.11: Moral Eval/Treatment Recommendation in Electoral Process Frame Moral Eval/Treatment Rec. Presenters Paragraphs Speeches The electoral process must be reviewed BNL 3 (16.7%) 3 NPL 4 (22.2%) 4 Total 7 (38.9%) 7 The MEC is incompetent &unethical and it must be replaced BNL 5 (27.8%) 5 Chronicle 3 (16.7%) 3 NPL 3 (16.7%) 3 Total 11 (61.2%) 11 Totals 18 (100%) 18 6.4.2 Failed Government This frame was very negative towards the previous UDF government led by Bakili Muluzi. This frame had a combined problem definition/causal interpretation components. It was advanced by the opposition parliamentarians led by the MCP. Its appearance was facilitated by the emergence of the MCP as the largest single party in parliament which gave it quite some leverage in parliamentary debate. This state of affairs was further aided by the weakened position of the UDF in the National Assembly. Further, since the frame dealt with the previous government‟s running of the country, there were no treatment recommendations emerging from the corpus. In addition, President Mutharika‟s sustained attack on corruption and revelations of fiscal

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