Petina’s first job as a newly-qualified lawyer was with Kantor and Immerman solicitors in Harare where she assisted in the constitutional challenge to the monopoly of the PTC, a state agency, on behalf of Retrofit Engineering, the company that became Econet, Zimbabwe’s largest telecoms provider. She also worked for the Harare Commercial Arbitration Centre.
She then joined the secretariat of the Appellate Body of the World Trade Organization in Geneva, the tribunal that arbitrates trade disputes between and among nations, where she spent three years. She is currently one of the pioneer Counsel at the Advisory Centre on WTO Law (ACWL), an international organisation that provides legal advice on WTO law to developing countries. The ACWL has been called the “only legal-aid clinic in international law”. Petina has represented or advised more than 70 countries, from small nations like Chad to larger developing countries like Indonesia, India and Thailand. In 2014, Petina was nominated to the short-list for the selection of a member of the WTO’s Appellate Body.
Since 2007, Petina has been on the Academic Advisory board of Trapca, a training institute that has trained more than 4000 young African professionals from the public and private sectors in Africa. At Trapca, she also teaches trade law at the certificate and intermediate level, and treaty drafting and interpretation to Masters’ students. Petina particularly enjoys mentoring young government officials from all over Africa who have an interest in foreign policy and international law.
Away from trade law, Petina is a strong advocate of legal aid, prison reform and the abolition of the death penalty. In 2012, she was a Fellow of the Open Society Foundations. She is currently on the board of the Centre for Applied Legal Research, a Zimbabwean think tank committed to making the law work for development. The Centre is currently working with the Ministry of Justice in a two-year project to bring all of Zimbabwe’s laws into compliance with the recently adopted Constitution of Zimbabwe.
Photo: © Advisory Centre on WTO Law