HARARE – Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa has been barred from seeing detained comrades Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole after making the trip Thursday to Chikurubi Maximum Prison where the tormented legislators and 16 party activists have been confined since June this year.
This is despite being given the go ahead last week by prisons boss, Moses Chihobvu.
Chihobvu appeared giving in to Chamisa’s 24-hour ultimatum issued by the opposition chief through his lawyers for prison authorities to give a legal explanation to an earlier denial to see his loyalists or be sued.
Chamisa told journalists who had accompanied him on his prison visit Thursday that his failure to see party activists when he was in the prison precincts was an order reportedly issued by Justice minister Ziyambi Ziyambi from his government office.
The opposition leader said he was appalled by what he found as brazen abuse of power in blocking his visit.
“I am so disheartened that after we have just been made to wait for three hours, we were invited to the office of the officer in change Mr Hukurume who indicated to us it’s unfortunate that we were not able to see honorable Job Sikhala and the other Nyatsime colleagues, because the Minister of Justice has instructed that we can’t see them,” he said.
“We were surprised because they stood us up for three hours, and all of a sudden they say ‘we have received an instruction and a phone call that you can’t see all your colleagues’; so we were not able to see them.”
Chamisa vowed to fight the discrimination.
“Besides being an ordinary citizen, I am also a practising lawyer and I have every right to see any client if need be.
“But they threw away all those considerations to just make it a humiliating act as it has happened. It’s very unfortunate; we will fight this,” he said.
CCC deputy spokesperson Ostallos Siziba also accused the Zanu PF led government of abusing state institutions to gratify “their unconstitutional whims and caprices”.
“It is a clear sign that Zimbabwe has entered into the shadows of the animal farm kingdom because there is now a law for Mr Mnangagwa and his puppets like (MDC-T leader Douglas) Mwonzora and a law for president Nelson Chamisa and the rest of the citizens of this country; the selective application of the law, abuse of the same to try and advance political objectives.
“The clear harassment of abuse of state institutions like the Zimbabwe Prison Services, for the regime in Harare to try and achieve its objective is something we condemn, and clearly shows the greatest sanction in Zimbabwe is Zanu PF,” said Siziba.
Sikhala, Sithole, and the Nyatsime 16, as they are commonly referred to, have been held under pre-trial detention for more than four months now.
Human rights activists and government critics have labelled the detained activists as political prisoners who have been denied their constitutional right to bail.