The late former Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku who died in South Africa last week on Wednesday has been declared a national hero.
Justice Chidyausiku was aged 70 and will be buried at the National Heroes’ Acre on Saturday.
President Mugabe made the announcement after paying his condolences to the Chidyausiku family at their Highlands residence. He was accompanied by the First Lady Amai Mugabe.
Cde Mugabe said the late Chief Justice Chidyausiku played a pivotal role in the land reform programme as people like the former Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay wanted to put spanners in the works.
He said the party and Government had declared Chief Justice Chidyausiku a national hero and he will join other national heroes at the National Heroes Acre.
The President said the decision to declare Chief Justice Chidyausiku a national hero was not made by him alone but the Politburo was unanimous that he was a national hero. He said even the security forces also wanted him declared a national hero.
President Mugabe thanked the Chidyausiku family for giving the nation a national hero and said the nation had in turn honoured him by according him the national hero’s status. He said the late Chief Justice was among professionals who played a pivotal role at independence when the new Government was formed following the defeat of the colonial regime.
President Mugabe said the late Chief Justice Chidyausiku was also instrumental in the success of the land reform programme.
President Mugabe said when the late Chief justcie assumed office, the land reform programme started progressing according to people’s wishes and Government plan. He said Chief Justice Chidyausiku did his work diligently and did not show any signs of illness up to the time he retired.
The President said as Chief Justice, Chidyausiku was on hand to offer his opinion on various issues whenever asked to do so. “He was very straight forward, very very compliant in terms of the law, very respectable, humble, and honest,” President Mugabe said.
Chief Justice Chidyausiku’s brother, Boniface thanked the President for the honour conferred on his brother.
“I want to thank you on behalf of the Chidyausiku family on the honour you have bestowed on my brother. He was a true cadre of the party and we thank you for recognising the role he played,” he said.
Justice Chidyausiku was born on February 23, 1947, in Domboshava and attended Mutake School at Makumbi Mission and then proceeded to St Ignatius College in Chishawasha.
He got a place at the then University of Rhodesia from 1968 to 1972 where he read law before going into private legal practice. At the 1974 general election, Justice Chidyausiku won the Harare African Roll Constituency, standing with the unofficial support of the African National Council which had been set up by Zanu, Zapu and Frolizi. He acted in opposition to the government of Ian Douglas Smith. Justice Chidyausiku stood down from Parliament at the 1977 election.
In the 1980 election, Chief Justice Chidyausiku was elected as the 12th on Zanu-PF’s list for Mashonaland East Province when Zanu-PF won the elections.
He was Deputy Minister in the then Ministry of Local Government and Housing and of Justice from 1980, and was promoted to be Attorney-General in 1982.
Justice Chidyausiku was later promoted to be a judge and served as chair of the Constitutional Commission charged with drafting a new Constitution for Zimbabwe in 2000.