The Multivocality of Covid-19 Pandemic: A Reflection of Social Representations from Presidential Speeches in Tanzania
The study investigated how news of the Covid pandemic has been constructed and shared among the common public. The study assessed whether presidential speeches or discursive others influenced the nature of their discursive constructions on mitigation measures. The study employed participants from the four major cities of Tanzania. A sample size of 60 respondents was purposively selected. The data for this study were qualitatively analysed. The study used Social Representation Theory (SRT) to guide the study on how the public received the pandemic news. The study also assessed how the presidential speeches or discursive others influenced the nature of their discursive construction on mitigation measures. The findings showed that discursive constructions and sharing of the pandemic news among the public were constructed around the polysemous definition of Covid-19 as normal flues, asthma and complicated diseases. Results showed that presidential speeches positively influenced audiences' panic relief and raised self-consciousness. On the other hand, presidential speeches negatively influenced the audiences to delay responses and downplay the pandemic self-consciousness. This study recommends that political leaders need to consider their discourse choices when addressing global issues, as the public trusts people in power.