Wilson Sandura

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Wilson Sandura
Picture of Wilson Sandura
Justice Wilson Sandura
BornWilson Runyararo Sandura
Shamva, Mazowe Valley, Zimbabwe
Died11 March 2015 (Age 74)
Harare Hospital
Cause of deathCar accident
  • Lawyer
  • Regional Magistrate
  • High Court Judge
  • Supreme Court Justice
Known forBeing the First Black Judge President of the High Court, Being the first black Regional Magistrate
Notable workSandura Commission
Children3, including Farai Sandura

Wilson Runyararo Sandura was a lawyer, Regional Magistrate, High Court Judge and Supreme Court Justice of Zimbabwe. He was the first black regional magistrate, as well as the first black Judge President of the High Court. He died at age 74, on 11 March 2015 after being involved in a car accident on 28 February 2015.[1]

Legal career

On October 24 1980, Sandura was sworn in as the country’s first black regional magistrate at the Harare Magistrates Court.[2] Sandura was appointed as a high court judge in 1983. In the following year, in 1984, he was fast-tracked to become Judge President and head of the High Court, as the newly independent nation sought to redefine its institutions.[3]

In 1989 Justice Sandura became a household name in Zimbabwe after presiding over the Sandura Commission that investigated the Willowgate Scandal that probed the abuse of office by government officials in acquiring motor vehicles through Willowvale Mazda Motor Industries at concessionary rates before selling them at a premium price for profit.[4] The high profile case claimed the scalps of several ministers. For more than seven weeks, the Sandura Commission called 72 witnesses, including six Cabinet ministers, two deputy ministers, three members of Parliament, two senior army officers and 40 directors and managers of private companies.[4] During the hearings some Cabinet ministers threatened commissioners, but Justice Sandura stood his ground and threatened two of them with arrest.[4]

Sandura was elevated to the Supreme Court, in 1998. His replacement as Judge President was Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku. [3] When Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay retired in 2001, Sandura was passed over for promotion with the honour going to Sandura's subordinate Godfrey Chidyausiku.[3]Sandura served as a Supreme Court justice, until the end, when he retired at the age of 70, as required by the constitution in 2011.[3]


On February 28, 2015, Sandura was involved in a car accident near his rural homestead in Madziva. On that very day he was rushed to Mt Darwin Hospital before being referred to Shashe Hospital in Bindura. Later on that day, he was transferred to the Avenues Clinic where he was admitted until March 11, 2015, when he died due to the injuries sustained in the car accident.[5] He was buried at his rural home in Madziwa, Mashonaland Central province on March 14, 2016.[6]


  • In 2009, he became the only serving judge to receive the Walter Kamba Rule of Law Award from the Law Society of Zimbabwe.[7]
  • According to the MDC party led by Welshman Ncube, Justice Sandura was one of the few judges known to have refused the offer of a farm under the government’s land reform programme.[8]


  1. Former Supreme Court judge Wilson Sandura dies, New Zimbabwe, Published: March 11, 2015, Retrieved; November: 6, 2016
  2. Independence gave justice to all, Herald, Published: April 18, 2015, Retrieved; November 6, 2016
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 3.3 [1], New Zimbabwe, Published: March 12, 2015, Retrieved; November 6, 2016
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 [2], Herald, Published: March 12, 2015, Retrieved; November 6, 2016
  5. Cite error: Invalid <ref> tag; no text was provided for refs named newszim1
  6. [3], Sunday Mail, Published: March 15, 2015, Retrieved; November 6, 2016
  7. [4], Alex Magaisa, Published: March 12, 2015, Retrieved; November 6, 2016
  8. [5], New Zimbabwe, Published: March 13, 2015, Retrieved; November 6, 2016

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