Justice Minister Ziyambi Ziyambi has denied opposition Citizens Coalition for Change (CCC) leader Nelson Chamisa access to visit party MPs Job Sikhala, Godfrey Sithole and the 14 members of Nyatsime who have spent more than 120 days jailed at Chikurubi Maximum Security Prison without trial.
They were arrested on 14 June and charged with incitement to commit public violence to avenge the murder of party activist Moreblessing Ali.
Chamisa went to Chikurubi on Thursday to see them but he claims he was made to wait for more than three hours before he was allowed to enter prison facilities only to be told he could not see Sikhala and his colleagues.
Speaking before leaving Chikurubi, the main opposition leader said he was told by the officer in charge that the directive came from Ziyambi. “We had come to visit our colleagues, Honourable Members of Parliament Job Sikhala and Godfrey 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 we were now allowed to enter and see our colleagues,” he said.
“Upon entering, we were then invited to the office of the officer in charge. He indicated to us that it’s unfortunate that we are not able to see Sikhala and the other Nyatsime colleagues, our citizens’ heroes, because the Minister of Justice has instructed that we can’t see him.
“We were surprised because they had stood us up for almost two to three hours. It is an embarrassment.” Chamisa said the move by Ziyambi signaled abuse of the law and harassment. He added that, by virtue of being a practicing lawyer, he had the right to see Sikhala. But he was not allowed.
“It is harassment and unacceptable that we have this kind of abuse of the law. Apart from just being an ordinary citizen, I’m also a practicing lawyer and I have every right to see any client if need be. But they threw away all those considerations,” he said.