A rhetorical analysis of the 2016 presidential election campaign discourse in Zambia with reference to one opposition candidate.

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Mwiinga, Clare
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The University of Zambia
This study investigated the campaign discourse of the 2016 presidential elections in Zambia with a view to showing how rhetorical devices were employed by one Opposition candidate in order to achieve persuasion in his campaign discourse. Specifically, the study focused on the campaign speeches by Mr Hakainde Hichilema in the run up to the August 11, 2016 elections. The investigation was carried out through content analysis of the campaign speeches. The study was informed by the Rhetorical analytical framework. The corpus was obtained by the researcher collecting the recorded campaign speeches in video form from ZNBC and Muvi televisions and transcribed verbatim. By analysing the campaign messages by Mr Hichilema, the study shows that he employed rhetorical devices which include parellism, allusion, use of pronouns, code switching and presupposition in his discourse in order to win support of the electorate. The study reveals through rhetorical analytical framework that rhetoric is the ability of the rhetor to exploit language as an essential instrument to achieving the audience’s adherence to his or her standpoint. The study concludes that the candidate employed various rhetorical devices which include aesthetic expressions, syntactic elements and code switching to woo support of the electorate and that it matters how politicians present what they say when campaigning. Besides, the study has established that the rhetorical theory is specifically interested in the skill employed in communication in order for the rhetor to convince the audience of his or her own standpoint and spells out detailed resources of rhetoric which are ethos, pathos, logos and kairos. In order to achieve persuasion, these different appeals to effective communication, should be exploited in a certain way according to the context, the speaker, type of audience and subject matter as well as its timeliness. In addition, the study has revealed that, when campaigning, politicians make use of the rhetoric of blame and bluster through polarization as a strategy to winning support of the electorate. Further study has shown that the political candidate under examination, through the use of rhetorical devices, leant on the extremely polarized view of us versus them, where himself belonged to the positively represented in-group and the opposing group was firmly placed in the out-group, derisively whenever possible. This polarization gave the political candidate under study an advantage over his opponents.
Thesis of Doctor of Philosophy in Linguistic Science.