Paddington Garwe
Personal details
Paddington Shadreck Garwe
Alma materB.L. 1977, LL.B. 1978 [University of Rhodesia]
OccupationUniversity of Rhodesia

Paddington Garwe is a Zimbabwean judge and a justice of the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe.


Garwe registered as a legal practitioner on 10 May 1979. His career in the judiciary started in the colonial era, as a young assistant magistrate 1n 1978. Garwe later on worked as a clerk of court and prosecutor before being appointed magistrate in February 1980. From there Garwe rose through the ranks of the judicial system, and became a regional magistrate when he was just 26 years of age in 1984. He became the chief magistrate, the top position in the lowest division of the judicial system when he was only 31 years of age in 1989. After serving two years as Chief Magistrate, Garwe was appointed to the position of Permanent Secretary for Ministry of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs in 1991 after which he was appointed as a judge of the High Court in 1993 at age 35. He was made judge president of the High Court of Zimbabwe in 2001. In 2006 Garwe was promoted to Justice of the Supreme Court of Zimbabwe. In 2013 he became a Justice of the Constitutional Court of Zimbabwe. [1] Garwe has also been the chairperson of the Zimbabwe National Committee on Community Service from 1993 to date and chairperson of the Pre-Trial Diversion Programme for Young Offenders from 2010 to date[2].

Notable Cases

When he was a magistrate, back in the 1980s he presided over the trial of PF ZAPU MP, the outspoken Sydney Malunga who was accused of trying to overthrow the government and supporting dissidents. Malunga was acquitted. In his judgment, Garwe criticised and blamed the police for carrying out a "poor investigation." [1]

In 2003, Garwe presided over the trial of Morgan Tsvangirai, the leader of the MDC, who was accused of treason. Justice Garwe discharged Tsvangirai’s co-accused, Professor Welshman Ncube and Renson Gasela, leaving Tsvangirai to face trial alone. In the end, Garwe acquitted Tsvangirai in October 2004. Patrick Chinamasa, who was the Justice Minister was severely critical of Garwe, saying in a written statement, "There was enough evidence contained in the video and the transcript of the video to secure and justify a conviction in the case.

When war veterans and others started invading and occupying white-owned commercial farms in 2000, there was a flurry of legal applications to stop the activities. In one such case came before Garwe at the High Court, he ruled in favour of the farmers, declaring that the land occupations were illegal and should be stopped. The Supreme Court, then headed by Chief Justice Gubbay upheld the ruling in December 2000.


Fast Track Land Reform Programme

Garwe had a complete turnaround on the land issue, as he also joined the land occupation movement and grabbed his own farm and quickly settled into a former white landowner’s farmhouse.[1]

VIP Housing Scandal

Garwe was also implicated in a high-level corruption scandal, namely the VIP Housing Scandal, which involved the abuse of funds meant for civil servants. Civil servants had made contributions to a scheme that would assist them to build homes. However, the funds were packaged as loans and diverted to senior public officials, including government ministers. A 1998 memorandum sent to the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Local Government and National Housing named Justice Garwe as one of the beneficiaries who at the time owed $109 115 for a property in the Gunhill suburb of Harare[1]

Grace Mugabe also built a mansion at 221 Armthwaite Rd, Harare, with money from this scheme, which she subsequently repaid. [3]

Secret Wedding

In 1995, Garwe protested when he was named by the Financial Gazette, a weekly paper, that he had presided over an alleged secret wedding between President Mugabe and Grace Mugabe. Garwe and Enos Chikowore, who was a Cabinet Minister who had also been named as a witness at the alleged secret wedding instigated criminal defamation charges against the newspaper’s owner and the journalists who wrote the story.[1]

Garwe also brought a civil defamation lawsuit against the Zimbabwe Independent newspaper in 2004, following the publication of a story in which he was alleged to have been blocked by two assessors from passing judgment in the treason trial against Tsvangirai. Garwe argued that the story was false and had damaged his standing. He sued the paper for 75 billion Zimbabwe dollars. In 2007, he won the case and the Zimbabwe Independent was ordered to pay 70 million Zimbabwean dollars in damages.[1]

Farm Mechanisation Scheme

In July 2020, Paddington Garwe was listed, in the BSR of 18 July 2020, as a beneficiary in the 2007 RBZ Farm Mechanisation Scheme, as a result of the Fast Track Land Reform Programme.

The data is analysed by recipients origin:.

  • Mashonaland provinces had the most beneficiaries, both in terms of numbers and value.

Mashonaland East got US$47,5 million,
Mashonaland West US$44,7 million
Mashonaland Central had US$34,2 million.

  • Two Matebeleland provinces had a combined total of US$13,9 million.
  • Masvingo US$26,4 million,
  • Manicaland US$18 million
  • Midlands US$14 million.

Paddington Garwe is listed under the thematic group “Political Referees: Judges”. According to the list, he got a loan of US$92,986.00. [4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 Alex Magaisa,The Big Saturday Read: The law and politics of selecting Zimbabwe’s new Chief Justice, Big Saturday Read , Published: December 03, 2016 , Retrieved: December 03 2016
  2. [hhttp://veritaszim.net/node/1900 Court Watch 2016 - 12th December Public Interviews for Four Chief Justice Candidates], Published: November 09, 2016 , Retrieved: December 03 2016
  3. [David Coltart The Struggle Continues: 50 Years of Tyranny in Zimbabwe], Jacana, Published: 2016, p 246
  4. https://www.bigsr.co.uk/single-post/2020/07/18/BSR-EXCLUSIVE-Beneficiaries-of-the-RBZ loan of US$325,368.00-Farm-Mechanisation-Scheme BSR EXCLUSIVE: Beneficiaries of the RBZ Farm Mechanisation Scheme], Big Saturday Read, Published: 18 July 2020 Retrieved: 18 July 2020