Jester Helena Charewa
Photo of Jester Helena Charewa
Appointed byPresident Robert Mugabe

Jester Helena Charewa is a Zimbabwean lawyer and judge of the High Court of Zimbabwe having been appointed by President Robert Mugabe with effect from the 7th of September 2015. She was sworn in on the 16th of September 2015, in a ceremony at the Constitutional Court, by then Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku. [1]


Charewa holds a Bachelor of Law (Honours) degree from the University of Zimbabwe (UZ), a Bachelor of Law degree from the UZ and a Master of Science in International Relations, also from the UZ. She undertook several courses with institutions such as the Commonwealth Judicial Education Institute, African Court on Human and People’s Rights, PricewaterhouseCoopers and the International Organisation for Migration, among others.[2]


She joined the military as a captain in 1985, having served as a professional assistant at Higham, Lewis and Lock (now Henning Lock Donagher and Winter Legal Practitioners) in Mutare. She served for 10 years from 1985 to 1995. Helena Charewa was the Chief legal officer at the Zimbabwe Defence Forces where she was head of the Department of Research, Legal Drafting and Training from 1990 to 1995.

Charewa left the military, went into private practice as a partner at Mucharehwa and Partners during which she was also a lecturer in Civil Practice and Procedure at the University of Zimbabwe’s Faculty of Law.[2]

Before her appointment as a judge, she worked at the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission, where she had been the Executive Secretary since June 2014. Before that, she was a Deputy Registrar of the African Court on Human and Peoples’ Rights in Arusha, Tanzania. [1]

In 2017, Charewa took her former employer, the Zimbabwe Human Rights Commission (ZHRC), to court, claiming outstanding salary and allowances to the tune of $34 196. She claimed that during her time of employment with ZHRC, she was getting almost half of her actual monthly package.

Charewa decided to issue summons after an unsuccessful attempt to recover the debt outside court. She was claiming the $34 196 plus interest. When she joined ZHRC it was agreed that she would get monthly allowances and salary totalling $5 094, but the Commission violated the agreement.

The Commission unilaterally paid Charewa a total gross of $2 973 monthly, leaving a balance of $2 121. Between July 2014 and September 2015, the debt ballooned to $34 196. Charewa confirmed that she also owed the Commission $2 410, being costs for the repair of her personal vehicle during her employment with ZHRC.

She indicated in the papers that the Commission could still deduct the $2 410 from her outstanding salary and allowances.[3]

Notable Cases

Hopewell Chin'ono Case

On 28 April 2021, Justice Charewa quashed criminal proceedings against journalist Hopewell Chin'ono. Justice Charewa declared that section 31 of the Criminal Law Act (publishing falsehoods) was no longer part of Zimbabwean law. Chin'ono was represented by Harrison Nkomo.

Luke Malaba Tenure

On 15 May 2021, Charewa, together with Happias Zhou and Edith Mushore upheld an application filed by top lawyer Musa Kika and the Young Lawyers Association of Zimbabwe challenging Constitutional Amendment No.2 which was used by Emmerson Mnangagwa to extend the retirement age of judges from 70 to 75.

They ruled that Luke Malaba whose tenure had been extended by five years by Mnangagwa, had ceased to be a judge on 15 May at 0000hrs, when he turned 70.[2]

See [[1]]


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Court Watch 2015 - New Judges". Veritas. September 26, 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2017.
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Advent, A Look Into The Background Of Judges Who Effected Malaba’s Ouster, Pindula News, Published: June 3, 2021, Retrieved: June 5, 2021 Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; name "PN" defined multiple times with different content
  3. Daniel Nemukuyu, Judge sues ZHRC over salary arrears, The Herald, Published: April 3, 2017, Retrieved: May 15, 2021