Nicholas Mathonsi
Photo of Nicholas Mathonsi
Appointed byPresident Robert Mugabe

Nicholas Mathonsi is a Zimbabwean lawyer and a judge of the High Court of Zimbabwe. He was appointed in 2005. In 2019, he was appointed to the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe.

Personal Details

No information could be found on his age, place of birth, or family.

School / Education

No information could be found on his Junior or High School, or any tertiary education.

Service / Career

2010 – Appointed to High Court bench. [1]
2019 – Appointed to Supreme Court bench.

Events / Notable Cases

In July 2017, Bulawayo High Court judge Justice Nicholas Mathonsi sentenced Clever Dhambara to 20 years for murder with constructive intent of Onisimo Mudzipurwa. Dhambara was driven by jealousy to commit the offence after his wife had moved on. “We live in a society where people are free to engage and disengage as they please because it is their constitutional right to do so,” he said. The courts have the duty to uphold the sanctity of human life through passing deterrent sentences. [2]

In 2016, the Gweru Town Clerk, Mr Daniel Matawu was dismissed by Minister Saviour Kasukuwere. He was dismissed by the Council after he was found guilty of 15 counts of gross incompetence, inefficiency in the performance of his work, substantial neglect of duty, conduct that is inconsistent with the fulfilment of his job by a tribunal set by the Gweru Commission. He had worked for Gweru for 37 years.

High Court Judge, Justice Nicholas Mathonsi ruled in March 2018 that Mr Matawu be reinstated as town clerk. His suspension was nullified, and his subsequent disciplinary hearing, which resulted in his dismissal, was deemed illegal.

The local authority gave Mr Matawu a salary backpay of $4 500 per month backdating to 2016 and gave him the same amount for the months that were left to complete his tenure which was due to expire in 2021. He approached the Labour Court to nullify his salary reduction from $9 000 to $ 4 500. If successful, cumulatively his salaries plus annual benefits amount to more than $216 000. He will also get a vehicle, residential and commercial stands as part of the package. Cumulatively, Mr Matawu will get a $406 000 once-off payment (terminal benefits and salary backdating to 2016).

Gweru mayor councillor Josiah Makombe last week confirmed that Gweru City Council had resolved its long-standing impasse with Mr Matawu amicably and have agreed to buy out his contract and give him an exit package. [3]

In December 2018, the High Court declared unconstitutional the refusal by Ihlathi High School in Bulawayo to release results of an Ordinary Level candidate over outstanding fees and referred the matter to the Constitutional Court (ConCourt).

Justice Nicholas Mathonsi ruled that the conduct of the respondents was inconsistent with the Constitution of Zimbabwe. “The conduct of the respondents to withhold applicant’s Ordinary Level results on the basis of non-payment of school fees is inconsistent with the Constitution of Zimbabwe and is invalid to the extent of its inconsistency,” ruled the judge, saying the actions of the respondents were unlawful and an infringement on the applicant’s right to education in terms of section 75 (1) (a) as read with section 81(1) (f) of the constitution. “The Constitution of Zimbabwe guarantees a right to basic adult education which is State funded and as such the respondents have no right to infringe on the minor child’s rights on the basis of failing to pay school fees. The conduct of the respondents further does not in any way advance the best interest of the minor child,” he said. [4]

From a possible five High Court judges, Justices Nicholas Mathonsi and Charles K. Hungwe were appointed two new judges to the Supreme Court bench in June 2019. Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi yesterday confirmed the development saying the appointment is with immediate effect. In 2015, the late former Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku named Justice Mathonsi as one of the top performing and hardworking judges. Justice Mathonsi joined the High Court bench in 2010. He has worked both at the Harare and Bulawayo courts.

Justice Hungwe was working in Lesotho following his secondment to that country’s High Court bench. A lawyer by profession Justice Hungwe served the High Court bench since his appointment in 2000. Justice Hungwe was a war veteran and was the founding chairperson when the Zimbabwe National Liberation War Veterans Association was formed in 1990. [1]

Law Society of Zimbabwe president, Mr Thandaza Masiye-Moyo, welcomed the appointment of the two saying they are going to bring a wealth of experience to the Supreme Court. Veteran lawyer, Mr Addington Chinake, said the appointment was extremely well deserved. “They are long standing jurists and also in judge Mathonsi’s case he was a well-established lawyer in private practice. So the combination of a longstanding judicial officer and someone who has a blend of private practice and judicial work is extremely good and it bodes well for the future strength of the Supreme Court.”

Justice Mathonsi could not hide his joy after three attempts to join the Supreme Court bench and finally making it this time. “I am really excited. I am over the moon. It has finally happened after three attempts you get the feeling that you have arrived.” [5]

Bulawayo lawyers hailed the appointment of Nicholas Mathonsi to the Supreme Court bench. City lawyers said Mathonsi was a hard worker who deserved the elevation. Mr Godfrey Nyoni, a lawyer and trustee of the Law Society of Zimbabwe (LSZ), described Mathonsi as a sharp minded person whose acumen is a true reflection of his work. “Clearly, Justice Mathonsi deserves this appointment by virtue of his good judgments, which are there for all to see. His shrewdness, sagacity and judiciousness in the manner he expeditiously handed down judgments during his tenure as High Court judge is indeed a true reflection of his passion for his job coupled with hard work,” he said. Bulawayo lawyer, Mr David Coltart, congratulated Justice Mathonsi - This is thoroughly deserved and he will add enormous value to the Supreme Court. [6]

In September 2019, Nicholas Mathonsi escaped unhurt after a Honda Fit rammed into his Range Rover at a robot controlled intersection in Bulawayo’s Central Business District. [7]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Mnangagwa appoints, Hungwe, Mathonsi as Supreme Court judges, The Chronicle, Published: 27 June 2019, Retrieved: 29 March 2020
  2. Injiva jailed for killing man he found on his matrimonial bed, The Chronicle, Published: 20 July 2017, Retrieved: 29 March 2020
  3. $400k golden handshake for ex-Gweru town clerk, The Herald, Published: 17 October 2018, Retrieved: 26 March 2020
  4. Release results’…‘Withholding of results over fees unconstitutional’, The Chronicle, Published: 22 December 2018, Retrieved: 29 March 2020
  5. Justices Hungwe, Mathonsi sworn-in, The Chronicle, Published: 3 July 2019, Retrieved: 29 March 2020
  6. Lawyers hail Justice Mathonsi elevation, The Chronicle, Published: 29 June 2019, Retrieved: 29 March 2020
  7. Supreme Court judge in car accident, The Chronicle, Published: 9 September 2019, Retrieved: 29 March 2020