|Assumed office |
4 September 2019
|Appointed by||President Emmerson Mnangagwa|
|Born||December 11, 1963|
|Education||LLB Honours [University of Zimbabwe]; LLB. [University of Zimbabwe]|
|Alma mater||University of Stellenbosch, University of Zimbabwe|
Webster Chinamora is a Zimbabwean lawyer, author, and High Court judge. Chinamora was one of five High Court judges sworn in on 4 September 2019.
He was born in Domboshava.
Webster Chinamora was born on December 11, 1963.
Chinamora attended Chinamora Primary School. In 1977, he went to St Francis of Assisi Secondary School until its closure in 1979 due to the escalating liberation war. He completed his O-Levels at Visitation High School and proceeded to Bernard Mizeki College for A-Levels. He holds Bachelor of Law (Honours) and LLB degrees from the University of Zimbabwe. He also has a Masters degree in Law from the University of Stellenbosch. He graduated with a distinction.
He was admitted into practice in January 1987 and worked in private practice till November 1992.
After completing his Masters degree in Law, Chinamora briefly lectured at the University of Stellenbosch.
In March 1995, Chinamora returned to Zimbabwe and worked with the then Ministry of Environment and Tourism as a legal consultant in a process which resulted in the promulgation of the Environmental Management Act (Chapter 20:27). He also reviewed workplace legislation for NSSA, before joining the University of Zimbabwe as a lecturer.
In December 1999, Chinamora went to the UK where he worked in various capacities as company secretary, immigration adviser, college principal and Law lecturer. He also worked for IEI Solicitors in their London and Norwich offices before returning again to Zimbabwe in September 2014 to rejoin the law profession as an advocate.
On 4 September 2019, Chinamora was sworn in as a High Court judge.
In May 2022, Webster Chinamora set aside a judgment he made when he ordered the unconditional release of a suspect from custody.
The suspect, Amos Chimbiru, had been convicted and sentenced to 10 years imprisonment for contravening Section 60A of the Electricity Act (Chapter 13:19).
He had approached the court seeking bail pending appeal.
Justice Chinamora made the order believing Chimbiru had not been informed of his right to legal representation when that was done. Chimbiru had made the same application before Judge President Mary Zimba Dube, which altered Judge Chinamora’s view.
Justice Chinanora said he regretted the grave oversight, which led him to grant the order in error.
Conflict of Interest Allegations
Advocate Taona Nyamakura lodged a complaint against Chinamora for alleged conflict of interest in a legal dispute between Zimbabwe’s Delta Beverages (Pvt) Ltd, Schweppes Zimbabwe Ltd and Blakey Plastics (Pty) Ltd, a South African company.
Another advocate Thabani Mpofu reported Chinamora to the Judicial Service Commission over the case. The corporate dispute was heard by Chinamora who ruled in favour of Blakely. Mpofu represented Delta Beverages. Delta appealed Chinamora’s decision, which came at a time when a parallel arbitration process was ongoing in South Africa.
When Nyamakura, Blakely’s lawyer, was working on legal advice — writing an opinion for Blakely — he was given two large cases containing box files and documents that relate to the dispute in the Blakely matter.
However, as Nyamakura was going through the documents, he came across numerous personal papers belonging to Chinamora.
The papers, that included a file containing the judge’s conditions of service, his original divorce order and file, original vehicle licence for a Land Rover Discovery, lease agreement, company documents, and building plans for a residential dwelling being constructed in Carrick Creagh, among others.
Nyamukura raised alarm and reported the matter to his seniors, including Mpofu, who, in turn, reported the matter to the JSC.
Mpofu is the chairperson of the Advocates Chambers hence the matter was reported to him. Nyamakura also reported the issue to the Law Society of Zimbabwe.
In his initial letter to the JSC dated 14 October 2021, Mpofu said the matter had caused him a lot of concern as an officer of the court and head of the chambers, hence the need for an investigation. Mpofu said the mix up could not have happened without the Webster Chinamora having personal contact with Blakey Investments.
He said there was a relationship between Chinamora and Blakey Investments that needed to be investigated and explained.
In his response to Judge President Mary Zimba-Dube dated 27 October 2021, Chinamora denied wrongdoing, emphasising that he has no personal relationship with Blakey. Chinamora also said the personal documents in question were and have always been in his possession. Writing to the JSC on 21 December 2021, Mpofu insisted that Advocate Nyamukura had the documents at one time although they were later returned.
In one case he was accused of releasing armed robbers. In a letter dated 13 November 2021, a group of concerned citizens wrote to Chief Justice Luke Malaba raising the issue of Chinamora releasing armed robbers in suspicious circumstances. The letter said Chinamora granted bail to Norman Karenga — case B640/21 — and Robert Mhandu — B659/21 — who were facing many charges of armed robbery.
The other complaint against Chinamora involved a Harare company, Sweatland Enterprises (Pvt) Ltd trading as Genius Locksmith, which levelled a corruption allegation against him.
In a letter dated 3 November 2021 titled “Complaint Against High Court Judge Justice Chinamora”, the company said it was exposing his interference in a case that did not concern him.
Chinamora is the author of three book chapters which are in the Encyclopedia of International and Comparative Private Law (co-authored with Mr M R McMillan)
- Women and Law in Southern Africa (co-authored with Prof Ian Chikanza); and
- Environmental Law and Policy in Zimbabwe.
He has also written a number of articles published in respected journals in Zimbabwe, South Africa and Malawi.
- ↑ 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 Fidelis Munyoro, Meet new High Court judges, The Herald, Published: September 5, 2019, Retrieved: June 1, 2021
- ↑ Mathew Masinge, I made a mistake: High Court judge, H-Metro, Published: May 19, 2022, Retrieved: May 19, 2022
- ↑ OWEN GAGARE, Court judge Chinamora under scrutiny, The NewsHawks, Published: January 23, 2022, Retrieved: January 24, 2022