To rise to the rank of Superintendent in the Malawi Police Service (MPS) is not a downhill ride. More so to be entrusted with the public relations matters of the entire central region in an agency as big and busy as the MPS. But it is a record achievement in life when you are only 27 and have both.
Such is the case with Supt. Nolliettie Chihana, MPS’s Public Relations Officer (PRO) for the central region who now walks in the shoes of Assist. Supt. Ramsy Mushani, who has now been transferred to Blantyre to serve the southern region in the similar capacity.
“It’s a very challenging task but then I believe in drawing strength from challenges and charge forward,” says Chihana in a special interview at her new offices at Central Region Police Headquarters in Lilongwe
“I’ve been in this new office for barely a month and I understand what I stand to face but with collaboration and team work with my seniors, juniors and the media it’s possible to move forward, and forward we will move.”
Chihana’s determination to be on the top of things in her office is best understood when you peep into her resume` and appreciate how far she has come from to hone her skills in her field.
First born in the family of two girls and one boy, Chihana was born on 3rd July 1989 and she hails from Zindi Village, Traditional Authority Kyungu, in Karonga.
The youthful Supt. of Police did her secondary education at Mary Mount in Mzuzu before doing her certificate and diploma in journalism at Malawi Institute of Journalism (MIJ) and Blantyre School of Journalism (BSJ).
At the age of 19, Chihana joined MPS (in 2008) as a Recruit Constable and upon the pass-out she worked as a general duty officer for two years at Dedza and Namitete, in Lilongwe, respectively, before moving to the Headquarters, Area 30, in Lilongwe in 2010 to work as Public Relations Desk Officer.
Meanwhile, she had risen to the rank of Sergeant and between 2011 and 2014 she did her Bachelor’s Degree in Journalism at the Polytechnic, an achievement that saw her further going upwards through the ranks of Sub-Inspector in 2014 and her current rank of Superintendent of Police which she got in February 2015.
Currently, the new Central Region Police PRO is doing her Masters in Diplomacy & International Relations at African University of Guidance, Counseling and Youth Development based in Lilongwe.
For someone whose burning desire was something different from being a lady in uniform, Chihana still feels at home in her role as regional publicist in the MPS.
“Joining the MPS was my mother’s idea; she had worked in civil service as a teacher and she wanted me to give it a try at MPS. I personally wanted to pursue a job with a big organization where I could work as a communications specialist,” she confides, a smile washing over her face.
“I took her advice, applied at MPS and luckily I was successful and in a turn of events I have ended up having both what my mother and I had desired in our diverse choices – which to me is a blessing.
“I really feel at home working in MPS and in the section where my job is to handle and process information for the public’s consumption.”
As a new broom in the office, Chihana is determined to continue building on the successes her predecessor had made and make her office as media friendly as it would be expected.
“I am the face of the police, and the window of information to the public through the media,” she says. “So it will be my duty to work closely with the media, organize awareness campaigns on various issues that are of concern both to the police and the public and to also lobby for support from various stakeholders.”
The new PRO says the regional offices in Lilongwe lack a number of materials including computers and other stationery equipment for its smooth operations and she appeals for support from well wishers.
As a young achiever, Supt. Chihana believes anything is achievable in life so long as one keeps their focus, and always keeps their heads raised high.
“Challenges are abound in life especially to girls but while finances can create barriers, determination to achieve one’s goal is key to finding solutions,” she says, adding: “There are always individuals and organizations willing to support and all one needs is to make it known they need help.”
To Chihana, who is also administrator for the MPS’s official website, the sky is the limit.
“My mind is set and I look forward to deliver, working as a team with all our channels of information in the region and the media for the benefit of the public we serve,” says Chihana.