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

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

233 7.2, this presents a

233 7.2, this presents a slightly skewed view of the reality. Most of the Moral Evaluation paragraphs were located in the Unity Frame which had 43 of these 76 paragraphs. Perhaps the reason why the Problem Definition components dominated in the newspapers corpus is Cobb and Coughlin‟s (1998, p.418) argument that the process of defining a problem is central to the discussion of issues. In an open debate, it is normal to define the problem and locate the causal agents inherent in an issue before providing treatment recommendation. Groups that are able to articulate the problem in a manner that resonates with the majority will find it easier to offer treatment recommendations and to greatly influence the outcome of a debate. With respect to the post-elections editorial coverage, adding their political voice to the definition of the problem would enable newspapers to offer their solutions to the country‟s problems in addition to the many solutions being offered by various political entities in the country. As revealed by the parallel nature of frames in both the newspaper and parliamentary corpus in 1994, the issues discussed in the National Assembly also featured highly in the newspapers. An examination of frame presenters discussed in chapters four, five and six above has also revealed the certainty of parallel framing between the newspaper corpus and the parliamentary corpus. This is especially true in view of the fact that the BNL newspapers were owned by the MCP and were basically mouthpieces of that party. The Nation and the Chronicle had been opposition newspapers prior to the elections. With the UDF‟s victory in the polls they switched positions with the BNL newspapers. In parliament, moral evaluation components were dominant among the frame components across all frames in 1994. The parliamentary discourse on moral judgements drew on political values and cultural values of service to humanity and preservation of human dignity. In this respect, the whole discourse on moral evaluations

234 was rooted in this aspect of morality. This is in agreement with Carrier and Miller (1998) who argue that moral generalisations help to steer decision-makers in correcting perceived wrongs using political and financial means. Heyman (2000, p.636) also argues that: Morality perhaps defies cross-cultural definition, but some elements appear to be widespread. It involves evaluative paragraphs about people and conditions in the world . . . . Finally, bound with evaluation, morality motivates prescriptive impulses. If something is wrong, one ought somehow to rectify the immorality. Consequently, both sides of the National Assembly floor tended to accuse each other of varying moral failings which would in the end be detrimental to the nation. For example, the UDF parliamentary discourse took the form of deriving moral examples from the national collective memory including vivid descriptions of human suffering under the MCP rule since 1964 and the celebration of the democratic era with its inherent benefits for the nation. Further, moral evaluation took the form of corrective statements regarding safeguarding democracy and providing equal opportunities for all Malawians regardless of region or ethnic origin. On the other hand, the MCP/AFORD alliance emphasized the perceived regionalism, unity and reconciliation issues arising in the aftermath of the elections. While the polls had clearly given the UDF a mandate to govern the country, the aforementioned issues (regionalism, unity and reconciliation), were strongly emphasized by the MCP/AFORD alliance. The obvious intention was to raise questions about the UDF‟s desire to govern on its own, in the process forcing it to form a government of national unity with the MCP/AFORD alliance.

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