Political Development in Zambia : A critical appraisal of Communication stategies used by The Movement for Multi Party Democracy (MMD) to disseminate Political Information
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This report is as a result of my attachment to and research of the communication strategies of the Movement for Multi-party democracy (MMD) from February to May 2004. This was in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Communication for Development at the University of Zambia. The report provides a critical analysis of the MMD communication within the party and outside the party. A critical approach was undertaken in order to determine the effects the strategies and channels of communication employed by MMD. The rationale behind this was to find out whether MMD is adequately communicating political information to the public. The problem of political ignorance has been said to lead to voting behavior and electoral outcomes that are meaningless representations of voter interests. Political parties are therefore the solution to the problem of public ignorance by communicating political information effectively to the public. The study used questionnaires, in-depth interviews, direct observation, and document analysis. The data was analysed qualitatively as well as quantitatively. The SPSS frequency distribution and cross tabulations were used in the quantitative analysis.The major results of the study were that the majority of the respondents did not communicate with the public regularly. Public meetings and word of mouth were found to be frequently used by the respondents. The researcher also found that MMD regularly used the media, and this was very acceptable among the respondents as they did not see it as abuse of the media. On the other hand the opposition saw this as abuse of the public media. Further results showed that MMD scaled up communication in election periods to win votes and scaled it down in non election periods.It was also found that MMD did not communicate regularly with other parties due to lack of good inter party relations. Intra party communication took many channels such as briefings, meetings, circulars, letters, faxes, and face-to-face, but this was between and among office bearers. Communication to general party membership was very rare and when it took place it was in the form of lectures. This did not promote political education and participation of non office bearing members in decision making.The results suggest that MMD carried out its political communication with some degree of inefficiency and inconsistency. The party, for instance, only carried out vigorous communication with the public during election campaigns to persuade voters.The findings of this study highlight a number of flaws in the communication strategies of MMD. The recommendations in the lost chapter of this report can help the party improve in its communication.