The WFE's Women Leaders 2021 - Mary Stephen Mniwasa, Chief Legal Counsel, Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange PLC

By: The WFE Focus Team Mar 2021

Nominee’s name: Mary Stephen Mniwasa

Member: Dar es Salaam Stock Exchange PLC (DSE)

Nominee’s job title: Chief Legal Counsel/Board Secretary


1. - Brief description of nominee’s role/job:

- To see to it that the company conducts itself and its activities in accordance with and as required by the laws of the land and to mitigate losses that might occur from court cases and/or contracts by properly managing the company’s litigation, contracts, or other instruments with legal implications to which the company is a party.

Other Roles relating to Capital Markets activities include:

  • To keep abreast with, review laws of the country and propose amendments (where desirable) to conform to securities industry.
  • To review applications for admission to DSE PLC membership and recommend the same to the relevant Board Committee for approval.
  • To coordinate a review of documents submitted with applications for listing and oversee the approval process by the Listing and Trading Committee as well as the Board.
  • To conduct investigations and market surveillance to ensure orderly, fair and equitable dealings in securities.
  • To coordinate and conduct training for market participants i.e., the Basic Investment and Securities Trading Course.
  • To review and update the DSE PLC Rules to take into account changes in the laws, technological development and introduction of new products in the capital markets industry.
  • To liaise with government departments in evolving public policy for the development of the Capital Markets.

2. - Short bio (career highlights, education, interests/hobbies):

I hold a Master of Laws (LLM) degree majoring in Corporate Law and Banking Law from the University of Dar Es Salaam. Prior to that, I did Bachelor of Laws (LLB) degree from the same university. I have been registered and practicing as an Advocate, Notary Public and Commissioner for Oaths.

I have been working with DSE as a Corporate Affairs Manager and Legal Counsel Since September 2007.

Before joining DSE, I worked with the Institute of Finance Management as a Legal Counsel (1998-2007) and CMC Land Rover (Tanzania) Limited as a Company Secretary (1997-1998).

I attended a number of training programmes on capital markets operations, securities markets supervision and securities markets surveillance and investigation conducted by national, regional and foreign institutions. While at the Institute of Finance Management, I attended various poverty alleviation programmes conducted by the Tanzania Global Development Learning Centre.

I am a confident and flexible person and an enthusiastic individual and a leader who is ready to share experiences in team works. I enjoy new challenges and am a quick learner who executes duties and tasks professionally and diligently.

I like reading especially legal fiction, watching movies and gardening.


I have multidimensional qualities which makes me effective and a good leader.

I am a forward-looking person who can visualise situations and frame logical solutions.

I have a mature outlook and am intelligent enough to examine problems and difficult situations and find solutions.

I am objective, and always base my judgements on facts and logic.

I have the knowledge of work in relation to my area of what I am currently doing.

I have a sense of responsibility towards my organisation’s goals.

I am reliable and trustworthy.

3. - What were your professional highlights and challenges of 2020?:


The major challenge was managing to work in office throughout the 2020 Covid-19 pandemic period while most of the supporting staff were working from home.

I successfully organised and coordinated the Company’s 2020 Annual General Meeting which was held both physically and virtually.

Managed to coordinate and conduct training for market participants i.e., the Basic Investment and Securities Trading Course online.

4. - What and who inspires/has inspired you to achieve your professional success:

The following inspired me to achieve my professional success:

Dr. Hellen Kijo Bisimba the former Executive Director of Tanzania Human Rights Centre.

Hon. Mwanaidi Sinare Maajar – formerly Tanzania’s Ambassador to the United States and Tanzanian High Commissioner in the United Kingdom.

The late Prof. Josephat Kanywanyi – the then Professor of law at the University of Dar Es Salaam.

5. - What advice do you have for other women who aspire to be in leadership positions:

A woman who aspires to be a leader:

Should be confident and believe in themselves.

Should always learn new things and keep themselves up to date career wise.

Should learn to listen from people of all levels and make proper judgement.

Should be able to communicate effectively.