Nyemudzai Kakore Herald Correspondent
Preparations for the burial of Retired Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku at the National Heroes Acre tomorrow are now complete, with transport and other logistics already in place to cater for thousands of people expected to attend. Justice Chidyausiku, who was 70, succumbed to liver and kidney complications at a hospital in South Africa on Wednesday last week. Minister of State for Harare Metropolitan Province Miriam Chikukwa said yesterday that the province would provide 20 buses to ferry mourners to and from the National Heroes Acre.
Mashonaland East Province, where Justice Chidyausiku hailed from, will provide nine buses, while Silobela, where he spent most of his childhood, will provide one bus to ferry the mourners.
The rest of the provinces will be provided with one bus each.
Addressing the Zanu-PF Harare provincial executive, war collaborators and war veterans associations, Minister Chikukwa said all preparations and logistics were now in place for a befitting send-off for the national hero.
Minister Chikukwa said people from all walks of life and across the political divide were expected to throng the National Heroes Acre to bid farewell to Justice Chidyausiku.
She described him as a gallant son of the soil who played an instrumental role towards the success of the land reform programme.
“The burial of our national hero, Retired Chief Justice Chidyausiku, will be on Saturday (tomorrow) the 13th of May at the national shrine,” said Minister Chikukwa. “A total of 38 buses have been provided.
“Buses commence ferrying people from the usual pick-up points as from 6am in Harare. I urge all patriotic Zimbabweans to attend the burial of our national hero in our thousands. We have lost not only a Chief Justice, but a national liberator.”
Minister Chikukwa appealed to those with additional transport to assist people who want to attend the burial.
“I am appealing to all Zimbabweans regardless of party affiliation and religious background, and international visitors to be in attendance,” she said. “To all those who have additional transport, please assist each other.”
Minister Chikukwa said as was norm, the body of the Chief Justice would be first taken to Stodart Hall in Mbare at around 8am, where President Mugabe would lead mourners in body viewing.
She said a bus would be deployed at Stodart Hall to ferry mourners, including residents of Mbare to the National Heroes Acre after the body viewing programme.
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 studied law before going into private legal practice.
In the 1974 general elections, 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 was a member of the Zanu-PF delegation to the Lancaster House talks in 1979.
In the 1980 election, Justice Chidyausiku was elected as the 12th on Zanu-PF’s list for Mashonaland East Province when the party 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.
After the resignation of former Chief Justice Anthony Gubbay, Justice Chidyausiku was appointed Zimbabwe’s new Chief Justice in July 2001, a position he held until his retirement in February this year.