The Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) has cleared Citizens Coalition for Change leader Nelson Chamisa to visit incarcerated legislators Job Sikhala, Godfrey Sithole and 14 other Nyatsime residents at Chikurubi Maximum prison.
Chamisa had previously been barred from accessing the activists on the grounds that he is a high profile person who should seek authority before visiting prisons.
In a letter addressed to Chamisa’s lawyers, Shava Law Chambers, ZPCS Chief Director Legal Services and Corporate Affairs to the Commissioner General of Prisons and Correctional Service one Commissioner W Risiro said they would grant the CCC leader permission to visit his party activists but with some restrictions.
“Please be advised that authority has been granted for your client Mr. Nelson Chamisa to visit members of his political party incarcerated in our prisons. Section 124 (1) of the Prisons (General) Regulation, 1996 (Statutory Instrument 1 of 1996) provides that every prisoner shall be permitted to receive visitors in such reasonable numbers and at such reasonable intervals as the Commissioner General or the Officer in Charge may fix in the interests of good order, discipline or security in the prison.
“Further section 129 of the same regulations provides that all visits shall take place within sights and hearing of a prison officer and at such times and places as the Officer in Charge may determine. Further a prisoner shall not be visited by more than three visitors at one visit and the visit shall not last longer than thirty minutes,” wrote Risiro.
Chamisa was advised to notify in advance the respective Officer in Charge (OIC) of the prisons of his intended visits.
“The approval for your client Mr Nelson Chamisa was given with some restrictions. He is required to notify the OIC of his intended visit in advance and the specific times. He shall not chant slogans anywhere near the prisons and is forbidden from addressing any person anywhere near the prisons. You may liaise with the respective OICs who may place further restrictions in the interests of good order and security,” reads the letter.
The activists were arrested during the funeral of slain party stalwart Moreblessing Ali in June and have been denied bail since then.