President Robert Mugabe has described the late national hero Retired Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku as a distinguished and respected cadre who played a pivotal role in defending and shaping the course of the country’s Land Reform Programme.

He was speaking at the burial of the former jurist, Retired Chief Justice Chidyausiku at the National Heroes Acre today.

President Mugabe said Justice Chidyausiku was inspired by the colonial injustices to study law in 1968 at the then University of Rhodesia now known as the University of Zimbabwe, to transform the country’s judiciary service.

“The colonial injustices in the then Rhodesia drove Justice Chidyausiku was inspired to study law in 1968 to 1972 at the University of Rhodesia at a time Africans were at the receiving end of colonial injustice,” said President Mugabe.

Cde Mugabe said the death of Justice came as a surprise to him and the nation at large, though he was aware that the former jurist was sick for two months.

He added that the late national hero had a passion for farming which explains why he was so passionate about the Land Reform Programme.

“I knew he loved farming and as his brother Ambassador Bornface Chidyausiku has said, Retired CJ Chidyausiku, this season he had 150 hectares of tobacco and managed to get over 150 tonnes of the crop at harvest,” Cde Mugabe said.

President Mugabe also said Justice Chidyausiku was part of the  legal team that went to the Lancaster House negotiations.

Justice Chidyausiku died on Wednesday last week at Morningside Hospital in South Africa after succumbing to kidney and liver complications.

Retired Chief Justice Chidyausiku, who had reached his constitutional retirement age, retired at the end of February this year after serving as Zimbabwe’s Chief Justice for more than 15 years.