Emilia Muchawa

Emilia Muchawa is a Zimbabwean lawyer and a judge of the High Court having been sworn in on 13 July 2021.


Emilia Muchawa holds a Masters in Women’s Law, Masters of Policy Studies and LLB Honours degree.[1]


In 2019, Emilia Muchawa was part of 16 candidates shortlisted for the Judicial Service Commission public interviews for eight positions of judge of the High Court. She successfully underwent the first stage of the selection process which consisted of a written test.

Initially, there were 43 nominees, but the number was trimmed to 16 after many of them failed the test, while others withdrew before writing the test.[2] Muchawa was unsuccessful and remained a Labour Court judge.

She was sworn in as High Court judge on 13 July 2021 by Elizabeth Gwaunza. Her promotion came after the elevation of six High Court judges to the Supreme Court bench.

Before being sworn in as a High Court judge, Emilia Muchawa was a president of the Labour Court.[3]

Positions Held

  • Trustees Vice-Chairperson- Zimbabwe Microfinance Fund
  • Director- Zimbabwe Women Lawyers Association
  • Judge- Labourt Court[1]

Notable Rulings

Air Zimbabwe Labour Dispute

In 2017, Muchawa handed down a ruling to Air Zimbabwe ordering it to reinstate over 300 workers whose contracts were unlawfully terminated without notice back in 2015.

She gave the airline a 60-day ultimatum to either reinstate or pay damages to 300 workers whose contracts were unlawfully terminated on three months’ notice in 2015.

Emilia Muchawa found that although Air Zimbabwe ended the contracts in the spirit of the infamous Zuva Petroleum judgment of July 17, 2015, Section 24 of the Finance Act Number 8 of 2015, gave retrospective effect to the Labour Amendment Act, Number 5 of 2015. Muchawa's ruling came after aggrieved workers collectively lodged a complaint of unfair dismissal with the Labour Court.

Unhappy with the Labour Court ruling, Air Zimbabwe took the matter to the Supreme Court. Supreme Court judges Paddington Garwe, Susan Mavangira and Nicholas Mathonsi dismissed Air Zimbabwe’s appeal with costs saying it was misplaced.[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 BOARD OF TRUSTEES, Zimbabwe Microfinance Fund, Published: No Date Given, Retrieved: July 13, 2021
  2. Fidelis Munyoro, President appoints acting High Court judges, The Herald, Published: July 4, 2019, Retrieved: July 13, 2021
  3. Fidelis Munyoro, Two new high court judges sworn-in, The Herald, Published: July 13, 2021, Retrieved: July 13, 2021
  4. AirZim Loses Supreme Court Labour Dispute Appeal, NewZimbabwe.com, Published: December 9, 2020, Retrieved: July 13, 2021