FOREIGN AFFAIRS OFFICER (POLITICAL AFFAIRS)
MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS AND INTERNATIONAL COOPERATION
Personal life history
I come from Nkhatabay district. Currently I work for the Malawi Government in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation as a Foreign Service Officer, Political Affairs. I have worked in the Civil Service for close to three years now.
Previously, I worked for Share World Open University as an Associate Lecturer, before working for CCAP’s Synod of Livingstonia as Human Resources Management Officer based at Embangweni Mission Hospital.
My academic journey started at Limbe Primary School through Zomba and then Mzuzu CCAP Primary schools. I then obtained my MSCE at Mzuzu Government Secondary School.
Subsequently, I got selected to the University of Malawi, Chancellor College. In 2010 I graduated with Bachelor’s Degree in Public Administration with Credit. I also hold the Master of Public Administration Degree from the prestigious Peking University (CHINA).
Foreign Service Officer, (Political Affairs), what is your position all about?
It is a mixed bag but basically, this job entails monitoring, analyzing and reporting political and socio-economic developments across the globe to the Government of the Republic of Malawi. It extends to how the developments affect Malawi and recommendations regarding foreign policy issues. Typical issues that are handled border on international peace and security and promotion and maintenance of cordial diplomatic relations between Malawi and other countries. In my case, I have worked on the United Nations, Latin America and Disarmament Affairs Desk.
What are the prerequisites for the job?
One first needs a strong interest and passion for political analysis as it forms the basis for work. He or she will also need to be a highly disciplined and patient individual as it is a diplomatic service. Of course academic credentials as in a minimum of a bachelor’s degree in Political Science, Public Administration, International Relations and Development studies are required for the post.
How is your normal working day like?
It is not always like a normal working day for me because I am always monitoring political and socio-economic developments across the globe and in particular, my area of jurisdiction and most of all, the implications for Malawi. That is why I earlier emphasized the need for passion in political analysis and government affairs. When I get to office, my immediate concern is to analyze and report developments to the Government when they are still fresh, for timely consideration and decision-making.
Is it a rewarding career?
It depends on how one defines ‘rewarding.’ However, just like other jobs in the civil service it is a noble profession that rewards mainly through exposure in international meetings, education opportunities and visits.
What external support do you need for you to excel, at such a position?
Every civil servant values the security of tenure (job security). This aspect brings about stability and effectiveness in service delivery. Again, one needs enabling legislation and organizational culture to work effectively. The recent Public Service Reforms drive has been looking into that area.
Who are your direct clientele?
I work in the Public Sector. So Malawians of course through elected and appointed leaders.
Assuming somebody aspires to follow your career path, what are the likely challenges?
The obvious challenge in this career is that one must know at least something about everything. The career requires somebody with vast knowledge in diplomacy and international relations, politics, economics, regional integration and cooperation, cultural studies, geography, history amongst others. The career also demands discipline and confidentiality from officers at all times.
How relevant is the profession, or the programme you studied to the current needs of the country?
Malawi is one of the least developing countries in the world, which is trying very hard to align land, labour and capital (factors of production) in order to attain sustainable economic development. In this quest, she needs the international community as no country develops while isolated.
The profession is key to the promotion and maintenance of peaceful diplomatic relations Malawi enjoys with other countries. This ultimately unlocks access to foreign capital, which results into investment especially in tourism, industrial and manufacturing sectors. In this regard, the profession is key to reducing unemployment rates and poverty levels through promotion of Foreign Direct Investment. Peaceful relations also form the basis for trade agreements that are entered between Malawi and other countries. Therefore, the profession provides the ground work for trade relations and access to foreign markets for ordinary Malawians.
Would you recommend somebody to pursue Political Science/ Public Administration?
If one has the passion in how the political system and the government works, yes, I would. These are interesting fields that uncover what lies behind political action, beliefs and institutions.
Having a degree in Public Administration, apart from your office, where else can one use such a qualification?
Public Administration is a multifaceted field. It mainly combines political science, economic development, organizational management and other social sciences. In this regard, one can pursue a career in areas of organizational management, economic development and political science. It is that powerful.
How beneficial is Political science to aspiring active politicians?
It helps them understand what lies behind political action and institutions. It also helps one shape political thought hence becoming a disciplined, goal-driven and mature politician.
Advice to aspiring Malawian youths
This profession is for people who want to provide a service to the nation. It’s a noble profession. It needs somebody whose primary concern is to make a difference in the lives of ordinary Malawians through friendship with the outside world. Again, one may encounter failure along the way. I would encourage them to try, try and try again…even in the face of possible failure and disappointment
Compiled by Gibson Kamanga