Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa on Monday waited three hours and was finally forced to abandon his visit to Chikurubi Maximum Prison to see jailed party activists including lawmakers Job Sikhala and Godfrey Sithole.
Chamisa, an advocate, arrived at the prison during the afternoon visiting hour but was frustrated by prison officials.
CCC duty spokesman Gift Ostallos Siziba said: “President Chamisa was made to wait for an unacceptably lengthy period, and even then he had to leave without seeing the prisoners. There were a lot of consultations going on between the various levels of the prison service.
“President Chamisa was eventually told that he is no ordinary lawyer or visitor, and he is supposed to be cleared by the highest office in the land, which we presume refers to Mr (Emmerson) Mnangagwa. This is unfortunate, this is not the law of this country.”
The CCC insists that as a registered lawyer, Chamisa should not be denied access to prisoners. The party says in any event, Chamisa arrived during the lunchtime visiting period but was blocked anyway.
Chamisa had planned to visit 14 party activists currently detained at the prison accused of public order offences following clashes in the Nyatsime area of Chitungwiza in June.
Sikhala and Sithole were denied bail along with other activists – Shepherd Bulakazi, Roan Tsoka, Tatenda Pindahama, Zephania Chinembiri, Zecks Makoni, Precious Jeche, Adious Makoma, Emmanuel Muradzikwa, Robert Madzokera, Misheck Guzha, Chauya Shopa and Enock Tsoka.
The activists maintain their innocence and Siziba claimed they are being held on “concocted charges.”
Chamisa has faced similar difficulties in the past, and when he was allowed access it was only after a long wait.