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Breaking News ... New Twist To Godfrey Chidyausiku's Death

The family of the late former Chief Justice , Godfrey Chidyausiku , who died this week of liver and kidney complications at a South African...

The family of the late former Chief Justice, Godfrey Chidyausiku, who died this week of liver and kidney complications at a South African hospital, suspect that his food was spiked with poison during a farewell party hosted for him by the Judicial Services Commission.

A close relative whom spoke on condition of anonymity said the family strongly suspected the jurist fell victim to the bitter Zanu PF divisions over President Robert Mugabe’s succession.

The ruling party is effectively at war, the so-called Lacoste faction widely believed to be aligned to Vice President Emerson Mnangagwa battling the G40 group linked to First Lady Grace Mugabe over the succession of the President, who turned 93 in February.

The two factions were said to have taken their succession fight to the judiciary, with each pushing to facilitate the elevation of their preferred candidate.

Chidyausiku retired in March this year, and it is alleged the Mnangagwa faction wanted Mugabe to appoint his successor in the hope that their preferred candidate, George Chiweshe, would become the next head of the country’s judiciary.

They were calling for a further amendment to the Constitution to give Mugabe the powers to appoint the Chief Justice and his deputy.
Breaking News ... New Twist To Godfrey Chidyausiku's Death
On the other hand, the G40 faction wanted to follow the process provided for by Section 180 of the Constitution of Zimbabwe, which prescribes that public interviews must be held to select the Chief Justice.

Chidyausiku backed adherence to the constitutional process in a position that was interpreted in some quarters to suggest G40 sympathies.

Now, relatives of the former Chief Justice, who was said to have succumbed to liver and kidney complications, believe he was a victim of the factional fights in the former revolutionary party, which has ruled the country since independence from Britain in 1980.

“It is true that we suspect that he was poisoned on the day of his farewell party. That is what all the relatives are saying; if you go to the funeral wake, you will hear it for yourself,” said one of the relatives, who chose to remain anonymous.

He said Chidyausiku started complaining soon after the party and had never fully recovered since that day.

Vice President Mnangagwa, who also doubles up as the Minister of Justice, Legal and Parliamentary Affairs, did not attend the farewell party. All government ministers except Patrick Chinamasa, who was Justice Minister when Chidyausiku was appointed in 2001, were also not present.


Fellow judges, Judge President George Chiweshe and Justice Charles Hungwe were also not in attendance.

At the dinner, Chidyausiku had expressed disappointment that the judiciary was divided over the selection of his successor; but played down the division as just much ado about nothing.

The late Chidyausiku’s brother, Boniface, could not be reached for comment as his mobile phone was not available.

He however, told state media Wednesday that he was not yet sure of the cause of his brother’s death.

“He has been ill for close to two months, but I cannot really tell the cause of death because at the time of death, the doctors were still trying to establish the problem,” he was quoted as saying.

Chidyausiku was taken ill late March and has been admitted in a private ward at the Avenues Clinic in Harare from where he was airlifted to South Africa after his condition had deteriorated.

Source: New Zimbabwe