Vice President Emmerson Mnangagwa says the late Retired Chief Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku played an instrumental role in defending the country’s position to embark on the land reform programme.

Retired Chief Justice Chidyausiku died from kidney and liver complications in South Africa yesterday, and his body is expected in the country on Saturday afternoon.

Addressing mourners at the Chidyausiku residence in Highlands, Harare this Thursdays evening, Cde Mnangagwa said the late Retired Chief Justice was a committed cadre who had the interest of the nation at heart.

“The land reform programme was going to be difficult without the support of the judiciary,” he said, adding that he first meet him in 1979 at the Lancaster House Conference and they continued to relate with each other up until his time of his death.

A number of senior government officials and service chiefs were among the many dignitaries who visited the family.

Members of the country’s judiciary, who also visited the Chidyausiku family in Highlands, said the profession has lost an icon who contributed immensely to the justice delivery in Zimbabwe.

Chief Justice Luke Malaba says his predecessor was a source of wisdom and a repository of institutional memory whose legacy will forever be cherished by the Judicial Service Commission (JSC).

Others described him as an independent, firm and honest man who transformed the justice delivery in Zimbabwe through the implementation of the Judicial Service Commission Act.

The late Retired Chief General Chidyausiku served as the head of judiciary for over 15 years before retiring in February this year.

During his tenure, he increased the number of courts especially the magistrate courts which are now accessible at district level and also ensured the establishment of the country’s third high court in Masvingo.