Malawi Defence Force (MDF) has promoted Chanju Mwale, who is the first female lawyer in the history of the country’s army, from the rank of major to Lieutenant Colonel.
Chanju, 37-year-old single mother, studied at Kamuzu Academy and then went to Chancellor College to pursue a Bachelor of Laws Degree.
After graduation, she joined the Judiciary as senior resident magistrate and stayed for two years before joining the military in 2004.
Chanju has undergone various courses and trainings, including being deployed to the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) as a military observer from 2010 till 2011 and taking part in military exercises at SADC level.
In 2014, she was awarded the United Nations (UN) Fellowship in International Law (of the sea) a prestigious fellowship which was sponsored by the Nippon Foundation of Japan.
During a published interview, Chanju said the military is a traditionally male dominated institution and proving oneself worthy is an uphill battle every single day.
“We still have a lot of ground to cover for women to be fully incorporated into the system. Mind sets need more adjustments and this applies to both males and females in the service. Changes can, however, be embraced if they stem from management and policy level to trickle down to ranks.
“All in all, I am proud of myself because I worked hard and sacrificed a lot to be where I am. It can be daunting because of the responsibilities I hold as a woman, lawyer and service member.”
Chanju is a mother to daughter Taweneko who is 15 and Shaun who is eight.
“It is not easy to be a single mother and support the two, but I always prioritise them in my expenditures. My parents have been instrumental in the bringing up of my children, offering support whenever I travel on duty.”
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