A brief chat with Africa’s candidate for Secretary General of INTERPOL!

A brief chat with Africa’s candidate for Secretary General of INTERPOL!

◾People are asking, who is Mubita Nawa, Africa’s candidate for the position of Interpol Secretary General?

Born on 12th September 1977, in Imwiko Compound of Mongu in Western Province, I am the third born in a family of 6, thus; 2 girls and 4 boys from the union of George Nawa Kalaluka and Josephine Maimbolwa Mubita.

I went to Imwiko Primary and later to St. John’s Secondary School in Mongu.

I am married to a fellow police officer, Ms. Felida Mwale, who is a Senior Superintendent by rank and we have 5 children, (3 girls and 2 boys). None of my children is in the Police Service.

◾How exciting has your career been as a police officer?

I have had a very exciting and unique career path as a police officer. Having joined at an early age of 17, just upon completing Grade 12 at St. Johns Secondary School in 1994, I was almost rejected on the basis of age, serve for the fact that I was to turn 18 during the training and was, therefore, allowed to proceed. It was a special recruitment into the Police Brass Band from Catholic Schools that had Brass Bands; St. Johns in Mongu, St. Edmunds in Mazabuka and St. Francis in Malole. We joined together with the current Aide De Camp to the President, my fellow Deputy Police Commissioner Wakung’uma Shapa.

I could probably be the only officer to have trained twice in the history of the Zambia Police, thus; in 1995 as a Recruit Constable and in 2002 as an In-Service Officer Cadet being the senior most in that particular intake of newly recruited graduates from the University of Zambia and Copperbelt University which included among them Honourable Cornelius Mweetwa, Commissioner Charity Munganga and Former Commissioner Lombe Kamukoshi.

The most exciting part of it has been the opportunity to serve in various international jurisdictions under the auspices of the United Nations starting with Kosovo in 2005, where I rose to the position of Advisor to the Kosovo Police Station 4 Commander in the capital Pristina.

In 2007, I was identified through the UN database for the excellent performance in Kosovo and was selected to form part of the 33 UN global police experts to support the AU mission in Darfur (UNAMID) under the Light Support Package through the development of the Joint Mission Analysis Cell (JMAC) and Joint Operations Cell (JOC) bringing together the Military, Police and Civilian components.

In 2009, I was yet again recalled by the UN to support the Security Sector Reform program in Liberia where I also worked on the UN/Interpol project called the West Africa Coast Initiative which sort to enhance inter-agency cooperation and collaboration in dealing with drug cartels in Liberia, Cote D’Ivoir, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Guinea Bissau.

Importantly, I headed Interpol’s Regional Bureau for Southern Africa from 2015 to 2021. This is a senior management position in the hierarchy of Interpol. All these strategic leadership positions gave me a lot of exposure, gaining valuable insights into international policing, experience, expertise and right attitude towards policing.

◾Can you briefly discuss your academic credentials?

I hold a Master of Arts Degree in Defense and Security Studies and a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Philosophy, both from the University of Zambia (UNZA).

This combination has been very handy in enhancing my capabilities at operational level as an investigator and at managerial level understanding the dynamics of defence and security, policing, strategic management and leadership. The academic exposure has widened my perspective, analytical capabilities as well as decision making processes.

◾Having worked in some of the world’s politically volatile hotpots, such as the Darfur region of Sudan, Liberia etc, what valuable lessons did you pick which have influenced you?

From the work point of view, it’s the realization that peace must never be taken for granted because once it is lost, no amount of remedy will make up for the loss incurred, including the indelible scars left in the minds of the victims and society at large.

Our work is very critical to the internal security of our country and therefore, we must, at all times, serve the communities with fairness and not to be the ones fueling divisions and insecurity in the country. We must serve with integrity, accountability and transparency in the best interest of all.

From the character point of view, conflict resolution is very important in order to avoid an escalation into violence. No matter the situation, it is important to remain positive and happy. One needs to appreciate one’s situation as there are many who are in worse situations than one’s own.

◾What is your biggest motivation to assume the lofty position at INTERPOL?

The exposure I have gained locally and internationally has given me an understanding of the INTERPOL member countries’ unique policing challenges and aspirations and, therefore, I feel the time is ripe to utilise this knowledge and expertise at the highest level of INTERPOL.

◾What reforms do you wish to influence?

Putting diversity into practice, by breaking the 100 years of the same status quo where the organization has been led by members from the same region thereby, narrowing the perspective of dealing with the global security challenges.

The Executive Committee needs to have equal representation by the various regions while the General Secretariat must be a representation of the various constituencies of the world it represents by having senior management positions being occupied by qualified staff from all regions of the world.

I believe this will positively change the status quo and make the organization more inclusive by increasing the representation of other regions of the world at a strategic level.

It’s not just about maps and borders, it is bringing on board people with expertise and experience from all regions. Those who understand the policing dynamics of such regions to make the organization more responsive to the needs of its member countries.

My primary focus would be on addressing the challenges posed by artificial intelligence (AI) and technology-enabled crimes. To combat these threats effectively, I propose implementing several key reforms within INTERPOL:

▪️strengthening intelligence sharing to enhance collaboration between member countries;
▪️enhancing cybersecurity capabilities through advanced technologies and training for law enforcement agencies;
▪️promoting global cooperation with international organizations like Eurojust;
▪️advocating for improved judicial cooperation which will ensure the issuing of arrest warrants, extraditing of suspects, and adherence to international legal frameworks across the various regions of Interpol;
▪️addressing corruption through transparency and accountability;
▪️and adapting to emerging technologies by encouraging proactive research and development in AI and cybersecurity.

By prioritizing these reforms, we can create a more resilient Interpol that effectively combats technology-enabled crimes while fostering international collaboration among member countries in addressing the challenges posed by AI and cyber threats.

◾Apart from the AU member states, where else are you drawing your support?

We wholeheartedly appreciate the support and decision by the AU to speak with one voice by rallying behind a single African candidate. But we also realize that this is a global position that requires support from all the regions of the world that we seek to serve.

Our campaign will, therefore, ensure that the vision for the organization is one that benefits all regions, prioritizing all of them, putting into consideration their unique situation and policing dynamics.

The campaign team will canvass for support from all other regions of the world even where there are competing candidates.

◾Do you feel disadvantaged in that some of the candidates are traversing the world canvassing for support?

We have a campaign roadmap which has strategically outlined our activities and the different players who have roles to play including at regional and continental level. Some of these activities have already been done at higher levels such as the Presidency and that is why you have seen the SADC and AU Heads of State and Government endorsing Zambia’s candidacy at their various statutory meetings.

More resources, of course, are being placed at our disposal to achieve all the activities envisioned in the roadmap and Government is actively addressing that. What is important is to ensure our vision is responsive to the needs of the member countries.

◾What is your greatest strength going into the General Assembly?

The fact that member countries have now seen the need to change the status quo, bringing in new perspectives in our quest to combat transnational organized crime globally. Also the fact that we are taking to the world invaluable experience, expertise and realities from the field to the leadership of INTERPOL. We seek to provide leadership to INTERPOL, an opportunity that has eluded Africa for the past 100 years of the organizations’ existence.

Mubita Nawa For Interpol SG!


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