One of Malawi President Dr Lazarus Chakwera’s most notable appointments has been that of Attorney General, Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda mainly because of the controversies that surrounded his predecessor. This publication sat and spoke with the new Attorney General to understand more of his new role and how he intends to make a lasting impact as government’s prime legal advisor.
Reporter – It’s a pleasure to talk to you. Firstly, may you tell us more about yourself?
TCN – Thank you. I am Thabo Chakaka Nyirenda born on 9th May 1982 in Chiwombo Village T/A Kachulu in Rumphi District. My family lineage has some interesting connections to the country’s independence struggle. My mother’s father was one Levi Ziliro Mumba, a freedom fighter who became the first President of the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC) during the period of British Colonial rule in Nyasaland. I am married to Thokozire Jere and currently we have three children.
Reporter – What about your academic background?
TCN – I did my primary school education at Mphompha Full Primary School in Rumphi before enrolling at Katoto Secondary School where I obtained both Junior Certificate of Education and Malawi School Certificate of Education.
In 2001, I joined the University of Malawi at Chancellor College where I enrolled to study Bachelor of Arts in Humanities (BAH) Degree. A year into the programme I crossed to the Faculty of Law at the same institution where I read for a Bachelor of Laws Degree (LLB) (Hons) which I obtained in 2006. In 2018, I studied for Master of Laws Degree (LLM) in International Financial Law at University of Sussex in United Kingdom.
Reporter – Let’s talk about your career path.
TCN – I have work experience both as private lawyer and government lawyer having started as Senior Legal Aid Advocate from 2006 to 2008 at Legal Aid Department. Thereafter I joined the Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs where I worked as Senior State Advocate from 2008 to 2010 where among major tasks I supported Director of Public Prosecutions, the Solicitor General and the Attorney General with legal assets and opinions. Due to my expert knowledge in Financial Law, Commercial Law, Financial Crimes, Company Law, Investment Law and Trusts I was employed by the Reserve Bank of Malawi as an in-house legal counsel from July 2010. I eventually got promoted to head the Ethics & Compliance division of the bank. On 27th August this year I was appointed by the State President into my new role as Attorney General.
Reporter – Malawians have labelled you as the protector of public purse looking at how you are demanding proper reviews of pay out claims from civil servants and suppliers. Why are you interested to review some of these claims?
TCN – Look, from word go some of the claims made for government to pay are questionable from many angles. It is not professional and proper for my office to just rubberstamp what we found in the files. The figures being demanded in some cases are anti-progress and meant to award individuals and businesses unscrupulously. Under my tutelage, we will do all it takes to challenge any pay out claim that has grey areas.
Reporter – Would you say you have started well in your role as compared to your predecessor?
TCN – I would not want to dwell much on personalities or office bearers that worked both according to the law and personal conviction. What is important is that I am undertaking my mandate in accordance to the law of the land in view of the agenda the government of the day.
Reporter – Let me cut you short. Is it necessary to tie your role to the government of the day?
TCN – That is very important to understand because every government comes with own agenda. For instance, the current government is focusing on recovery of stolen assets and as the chief legal advisor I must offer legal insights and advice that resonate with the intention of those running the government. You cannot completely detach oneself from that reality.
Reporter – There was a problem of leakage of documents from your office before you came in, have you encountered the same since you became Attorney General?
TCN – (laughs) As earlier said, I will not dwell much on what happened before I came in. But to answer your question, no there are no leakages of documents at the Attorney General’s office.
Reporter – Any final words?
TCN – I am glad for the support I am receiving from all quarters of society including my employers. This is helping us build more capacity to carry out our duties in a way that will help the country achieve its development agenda through a sound and efficient legal framework within the government ecosystem.Follow and Subscribe Nyasa TV :