Opposition CCC leader Nelson Chamisa has given the Zimbabwe Prisons and Correctional Services (ZPCS) a 24-hour ultimatum to explain why he has been blocked from visiting party activists as well as lawmakers Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole who have been in pre-trial detention since June.
Chamisa’s lawyers, Shava Law Chambers, wrote a letter to ZPCS Commissioner General, Moses Chihobvu, asking why Chamisa has been denied permission to visit the CCC activists who were arrested and detained for allegedly inciting public violence in Nyatsime in June. The letter reads in part:
Our client advises that on divers occasions, he attempted to visit these individuals at both Harare remand and Chikurubi Maximum prisons, respectively, but upon arrival, he was denied access.
He (Chamisa) was advised by the prison guards that he was specifically barred from visiting anyone in prison detention without your written permission.
The basis for this requirement could not be easily ascertained from these guards.
Chamisa has been barred from visiting Sithole and Sikhala but MDC-T leader Douglas Mwonzora was recently given access to see the duo.
Sikhala and Sithole, however, refused to meet Mwonzora, according to a spokesperson, Freddy Michael Masarirevu. Chamisa’s lawyers further argued:
In terms of Zimbabwean laws, any person who is detained, including a convicted prisoner, has a right to communicate with, and be visited by a relative or anyone else of their choice, subject to reasonable restrictions which may be imposed for the proper administration of prisons or places of detention.
Further, a careful perusal of your prison policies would reveal that there is only a single category of visitors that are not allowed visit, these are those in need of conjugal rights.
Our client does not fall in that bracket and as such he ought to have been allowed to visit the aforementioned individuals.