NEWS | CAREER OF THE WEEK |EDUCATION
Guest: George Allan Phiri
Firm: University of Livingstonia
Q & A By Franco Mwachande Jnr
Let’s face it! Every human being is political in nature. The only difference is that others are in the mainstream politics whilst others play second-fiddle politics. Whatever the case, we, atleast by Malawian perspective, eat, drink, sleep politics.
Over the recent years, the young and the old alike have been following events unfolding in the country’s political spectrum. We’ve been into politics that it has affected literary our day-to-day life.
For the general populace to properly understand the political environment, there cometh the various Political Analysts. These are the professionals who simplify, analyze, and predict the various political issues affecting our lives.
EM’s Franco Mwachande engages one of the country’s revered Political Analysts, George Allan Phiri.
Tell us about yourself?
I come from Mbiwi Village in the area of Traditional Authority (T/A) Kafuzira in Nkhotakota District. I am a fifth born in a family of ten;, seven sons and three daughters and I am a Lecturer, Researcher, Author and Consultant.
Brief academic background
I did my primary school education at Dwambazi Primary School and secondary at Nkhotakota secondary school and my Ordinary ‘O’ and Advanced ‘A’ levels as external candidate with Cambridge and London Universities.
Then I did Teacher Training college (TTC) at Lilongwe TTC. After that, I joined teaching in public primary school where I taught for 11 years before resignation. In 1999, I was called to pastoral ministry and I did Bachelor of Arts in Bible and Theology and Master of Arts in Intercultural studies with Global University of the United States of America.
In 2010, I did studies in Political Economy with the University of London in the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS).
Who is political analyst?
A political analyst is a person who develops an interest in understanding politics, though with basic political background and research in politics. Usually, a political analyst analyzes various political situations while studying some obvious and unique trends affecting people in the society objectively. Research skills help a political analyst to avoid bias in his observations.
Where are you coming from professionally?
I pastored the Church under the Malawi Assemblies of God in Nkhotakota, Mzimba, and Salima. I also served as Director in a number of ministries such as; Missions, Evangelism etc.
Between 2005-2006 I joined Faculty members of the then Assemblies of God School of Theology as Lecturer.
In 2007, I got a job as a Lecturer in Cultural Anthropology and Cross-cultural communication in Zambia at Christian Vocation Training College (CVTC). While at CVTC, I did a number of research activities that led to publishing of a book, ‘ Social-cultural Anthropology: Communication with the African Society’. This book can be accessed at www.amazon.com or from publishers, Wipf and Stock publishers at www.wipfandstockpublishers.com
I also taught Marketing Communications at Malawi Institute of Management (MIM) before joining the University of Livingstonia in 2014. My major interest is in social and cultural research.
Currently, am lecturer at University of Livingtonia, I teach Political Economy, Introduction to Political Science, and Human Rights.
What does being political analyst entail?
To be a political analyst entails a number of things including social, economic and political research in order to balance issues. It also involves a lot of reading and field studies to understand trends of changes in the affairs of people in the society.
How rewarding is this career?
Political analyst is a rewarding career indeed. It makes one to investigate some issues which politicians take for granted. I hope you understand that a political analyst is not a politician. His interest is in understanding the political issues, thinking pattern of politicians and ordinary citizens and how these people make their political decisions and choices. As a political analyst, I feel satisfied when I share my political views or opinions with people and politicians.
Like I have said earlier, I come from teaching, pastoral and academic background.
Is this what you really wanted to be in life?
What I have wanted to be in life is to be an academic. If you follow my profile, you will realize that I have been a teacher and an academic more than any other career. However, I have done some social and community development work also.
Currently, I am involved in social and development policy research and lecturing in development and Human Rights Studies.
What inspired you to take this career?
As a political analyst, I have been inspired by academic research, trends of local politics in Malawi and teaching courses like political economy of Southern Africa, Africa and Development Aid etc.
What some of the challenges you encounter whilst in the line of duty?
The major challenges are time to respond to calls from media houses, conducting research and finding a forum for dissemination of research findings. However, I do appreciate the media houses that sometimes I disseminate some findings through the calls.
What’s entry point into the professional?
The entry point into a profession of political analyst is political interest and basic knowledge of research in Political, social and economic issues affecting the society.