You have a masterâ€™s in law, and work as senior state advocate and public relations officer in the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs. What does this mean to you?
I work for the State. I serve Malawians by prosecuting criminals within our society, providing the public with information and defending Government civil cases. Most recently, I was proud to have been part of a team that drafted Malawiâ€™s First State Party Report on Civil and Political Rights under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.
All of this is service to our society and it means a lot to me. I can only say that God is faithful. Growing up, I wanted to be a lawyer, so I am pretty much living my dream. Since obtaining my degree in 2004, I have been blessed with the opportunity to work for both legal and non-legal sectors, to train as a solicitor and obtain my masters. I am thankful for this.
However, the journey continues. During my masterâ€™s, I majored in economic development in developing countries most especially through trade and international law. This is ultimately what I am passionate about, I would like to contribute and make a difference to the economic development in our country and I believe that one day, I will be in positions to do so.
How will you do this?
I grew up in Zimbabwe then later moved to the UK. Having lived in more developed countries for so long, I look around and wonder why our country could not reach the same levels of development and poverty alleviation. I tend to compare the poverty I see at home with the wealth I see abroad. Ultimately, I pursued a masterâ€™s that had a combination of both my passions, law and economic development and it opened my eyes to the challenges that we have, especiallyÂ in terms of barriers to trade and how important trade is to our economic development. My long term goal is to be an expert/specialist in trade policy issues affecting Malawi and to make a difference as that will ultimately improve standards of living to most people here in Malawi.
You mentioned that becoming a lawyer was childhood dream. How did you work towards this?
After sitting for my Primary School Leaving Certificate Examinations, I joined Marymount Secondary School. Upon the release of the PSLCE results, I was selected to Bwaila Secondary School and because I never liked boarding school, I left Marymount for Bwaila. I later went to Lilongwe Girls Secondary School to complete Forms 1 and 2.
At this point, my father passed away. My mother got a job in Zimbabwe and so we moved there. I did the remainder of my secondary school at St. Johnâ€™s High School in Zimbabwe. After my A-Levels in 2000, I went to University of Northampton in UK for my LLB Law Degree which I finished in 2004. I trained as a solicitor in UK in 2006.
Law is considered tough. What qualities do you think enabled you to establish a legal career?
I donâ€™t know if I would classify it as tough, but if you love to read a lot, if you have an analytical mind and can think on your feet then you can definitely study law. Also, failure has never been an option for me; I intend to excel to the greatest heights possible in my career through prayer, hard work and determination. In the process and through the various stages in my life, I intend to make a positive impact in other peopleâ€™s lives.
Any cases that stand out in your career?
I deal with both criminal and civil cases and for me, to date the case that stands out would have to be a civil matter where although judgement was entered for the claimant to be awarded K18 million, I negotiated so adeptly, we only paid out K9 million.
What challenges do you face in your current position and what strategies do you use to get through them?
The main challenge is juggling between being an advocate and a public relations officer. Having excellent time management skills and doing the best you can within limited time is the trick to overcoming this challenge.
What does an average workday involve for you?
Generally, it involves obtaining instructions from our clients, legal research, preparation of legal opinions and court documents, meetings over various issues, going to court for litigation and dealing with various queries from the media.
What lessons have you learnt from life?
I have learnt that one should not focus on the hurdles that they see because whatever you see is always subject to change. Dwell on solutions and not on negativity. I have learnt not to focus on limitations placed on me by human beings because when God wants to bless you, He will do so regardless of whatever situation you may perceive yourself to be in or whatever background you may come from. This keeps me self motivated, focused and positive. I do my best and I give my best in everything I do and let God do the rest.
How would you describe yourself?
I am a young woman who is proud to be Malawian, with a strong belief in God and family. These come first. I am humble and yet very ambitious, hard-working, intelligent and always ready to learn new things and meet challenges.
What keeps you going?
I never settle for mediocrity, whether itâ€™s in my professional or personal life.
Do you have any major fears in life?
I do not have â€˜fearsâ€™ per se, I am a woman of great faith, fear cannot exist where there is faith as the latter makes you believe anything is possible whereas the former makes you believe you cannot! I havenâ€™t always been like that, itâ€™s a learning process.
Is this astounding courage something you learnt from your parents?
In a way, yes. Both my parents were accountants and hard workers. It was just unfortunate that I lost my dad when I was only 12 years old. My parents were (and my mum is) born-again CCAP Christians and so they raised us with strong Christian values. They also always believed in us, always motivated us, loved us, disciplined us and most of all, they tried to cultivate our individual talents.
For example, because I always loved to read, they made sure they always bought me books. It is a combination of all this and hard work that they instilled in me that has made me into what I am today. I am truly grateful for this.
Growing up in a single-parent home is not easyâ€¦
You are right. When my father passed on, my mother had to be mother and father both emotionally and financially and that wasnâ€™t easy. She believed in my dream of becoming a lawyer and we worked together to make it a reality.
At the age 18, when we moved to UK, I worked full time and went to university full time, I remember renting my own apartment at that age, trekking to work on cold winter nights and going to university during the day. It was tough but I am so glad I went through that because it means I can get through anything.
With Godâ€™s grace and partial scholarships, I graduated with excellent grades. It was through sheer willpower and faith in God.
Any weaknesses beneath that super-woman exterior?
My weakness would have to be not having studied law in this jurisdiction as this means that my knowledge prior to coming back home was solely based on the English Law. Luckily, our legal system is based on English Law. However, I have had to familiarise myself with Malawian case law as well as our civil and criminal procedures which although similar are not entirely the same.
I try to read as much as I can when I can. However, this is a double edged sword, as it is also strength because it taught me strong work ethic, independence and exposed me to a different way of doing things from which I can take the good and leave out the bad.
Who inspires you?
Quite a few people, but my mother tops the list. The woman is simply amazing. She is hard working, is a woman of integrity, loving, forgiving, and so much more.