Lieutenant Colonel Chanju Samantha Mwale, who is the first female lawyer in the history of the country’s army, has applied for leave for judicial review on what she feels is unfair redeployment from her post as Deputy Director of Legal Services to Staff Officer in the Directorate of Research and Development at Malawi Armed Forces College (Mafco).
Chanju argues, according to court documents, filed by White and Cross Law Consultants at Lilongwe District Registry, that it was unreasonable for the Army to redeploy her based on suitability, and the redeployment process itself.
She feels the MDF didn’t satisfy the test of the redeployment obligation.
High Court udge Charles Mkandawire granted her leave to apply for judicial review but did not stop the implementation of the decisions by the MDF and General Supuni-Phiri.
Among the reliefs Mwale sought was a declaration that the decision to relocate her from Kamuzu Barracks to Area 47 [Lilongwe], “is illegal, discriminatory, tantamount to harassment and endangerment”
“A declaration that the Malawi Defence Force Commander acted unlawfully and/or irregularly by ordering the relinquishment of the appointment of Deputy Director of Legal Services and ordering the applicant’s appointment as Staff Officer in the Directorate of Research and Development, the applicant being a lawyer by training and therefore suited to the Directorate of Legal Services and appointments therein,” reads another relief she sought.
She also sought a declaration that her new appointment by the MDF Commander is unlawful and irregular and that the new appointment is, in essence, a demotion without any reasons being given.
Chanju, 38-year-old, 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.”Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :