Opposition Citizens Coalition for Change president Nelson Chamisa has been denied access to meet incarcerated legislators Job Sikhala, Godfrey Sithole and fourteen other Nyatsime party activists who are facing charges of inciting public violence.
Chamisa had gone to Chikurubi Maximum Prison after he was cleared by the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) to visit the detained activists.
The opposition leader had to wait for more than two hours before he was allowed to enter the Prison premise where he met with the Officer in Charge (OIC) who told him they had been instructed by Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi to bar him.
Speaking to journalists after meeting the OIC, Chamisa said the incident was sad and regrettable and an embarrassment.
“It’s very sad and regrettable that we had come to see, visit our colleagues honourable members of Parliament honourable Job Sikhala and honourable Sithole but it’s so disheartening to note that just after we had been made to wait for about three hours we were then told that you can now enter to be able to see our colleagues, Upon entering we were then invited at the office to the officer in charge.
“The OIC of the prisons Mr Mukurume indicated that it’s unfortunate that we are not able to see honourable Job Sikhala and the other Nyatsime colleagues, our citizen heroes because the Minister of Justice has instructed that we can’t see them. We are surprised because they stood us for up to two three hours but all of a sudden they tell us we have received an instruction and a phone call that you can’t see all your colleagues, so we are not able to see them. It is an embarrassment, it harassment, it is unacceptable that you have this kind of abuse of the law,” said Chamisa
He argued that despite being a citizen, he is a practicing lawyer who has a right to meet with clients if the need arises.
“Apart from just being an ordinary citizen I am also a practicing lawyer and I have every right to see any client if need be. They throw away all those considerations to just make it a humiliating act as it has happened very unfortunate we will fight this and we obviously continue to wish our colleagues well, they deserve our solidarity, they deserve our warmth and we continue to provide that in different ways and mechanisms,” Chamisa said.
Meanwhile, Sikhala’s spokesperson Freddy Masarirevu wrote on Twitter yesterday that the combative legislator’s wife was also barred from visiting him yesterday.
“Just received a call from Hon@JobSikhala1‘s wife informing me that she was denied access to see him at Chikurubhi Max Prison. As a result she could not deliver his food for today. Spouses, unlike others, should never be denied access for whatever reason,” said Masarirevu.