Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter
The late former Chief Justice, Godfrey Chidyausiku, who died in South Africa on Wednesday last week 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 First Lady Amai Mugabe.
- EDITORIAL COMMENT: Hero Chidyausiku jurist par excellence
- ‘Chidyausiku was a patriot, legal icon’
- VP Mnangagwa mourns Chidyausiku
- UPDATED: Chidyausiku dies
- Mphoko salutes Chidyausiku
“Saka nemashandiro aakaita aya tiri tose kutsigira zvaidiwa nesu tose nenyika zvatakarwira, ndare dzakange dziripo dzaana (Anthony) Gubbay dzataiti tabva. Nzira yedu yavhurwa zvino panyaya yeland reform nebasa rose raChief Justice, raakaita.
“Takaona isu hatingangomukande mugomba, takati aah kwete, hongu misodzi munosvimha asi ngati muyeukewo sezvatinoita vaya vatinoti ma national heroes edu, magamba makuru atinosesekedza mupfungwa, muhupenyu hwanhasi nehuchauya aiswe paNational Heroes Acre.
“Saka takabvumirana, haisi pfungwa yangu ndoga, aiwa. Zvakabvumiranwa muPolitburo medu. Kana kumauto ndozvavaida. Saka he is to be laid to rest as a national hero. Tinotenda vekwaChidyausiku makatipa gamba. Raenda, tinochema tiri tese asi tamupa rukudzo. Nyika yese yamupa rukudzo,” President Mugabe said.
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 Chief Justice Chidyausiku was also instrumental in the success of the land reform programme.
“Vaivepo kare vanaGubbay pfungwa dzavo dzakanga dzisiri dzedu. Kutorwa kwaiitwa nyika uku kwakanga kusingavafadze. Kuti land reform programme yedu ibudirire ndopandiri kutaura aah zvakanga zvisingaite. Zvino tikati aah chatakanorwira chingave chii?
“Aiwa, yakazosvika nguva yatakati iwe Godfrey chibvawo kuJustice kwauri, pachinzvimbo chauri chehuJudge, uve mukuru, Chief Justice. Ndopatakaona zvino aiwa pfungwa dzaibva ikoko dzichifambirana nedzedu nyika yotorwa,” President Mugabe said.
President Mugabe said Chief Justice Chidyausiku did his work diligently and did not show any signs of illness up to the time he retired.
He said as Chief Justice, Chidyausiku was on hand to offer his opinion on various issues whenever asked to do so.
“Semunhu aishandira nyika, handina kumboona kutsveyama, handina kumboona kusiyana, straight forward, very very compliant in terms of the law, very respectable, humble, honest,” President Mugabe said.
“Vaenda asi inini handina kumbonge ndaoona kuti vari kurwara pavaiuya. Ndaingoona semunhu warukutika zvake asi achifamba. Tine hurombo chaizvo shuwa.”
Chief Justice Chidyausiku’s brother, Boniface, thanked the Presdent 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.
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 delegatio to the Lancaster House talks in 1979.
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.
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 .