CHAMBO NG’UNI, Kabwe
THREE Catholic bishops yesterday met incarcerated United Party for National Development (UPND) president Hakainde Hichilema at Mukobeko Maximum Correctional Centre to
discuss the need for dialogue and national reconciliation.
The clergymen, who arrived at 09:40 hours, were in a closed-door meeting with Mr Hichilema for two hours and 30 minutes.
The three bishops are Zambia Council of Catholic Bishops (ZCCB) president Archbishop Telesphore Mpundu, his deputy Bishop Alick Banda of Ndola and Bishop Raymond Mpezele of Livingstone.
Their meeting with Mr Hichilema follows one they had with President Lungu at State House on July 14, 2017, at which they made a request to meet the UPND leader.
The bishops left the Correctional Centre without offering any interview to a horde of journalists that had kept vigil outside.
Commissioner of Prison Percy Chato confirmed the bishops’ visit to Mr Hichilema and that the meeting was held in camera.
“I have no information on how the meeting was conducted, even my staff were not there,” Mr Chato said.
Mr Chato said the media were not allowed inside the facility because the meeting was a closed one.
UPND members led by the party’s treasurer general Watson Mumba were also deprived of details of the meeting as they were also waiting outside with journalists.
During the meeting with President Lungu, 13 Catholic bishops and one priest appealed to the head of State to consider dialogue with Mr Hichilema.
During the same meeting, the bishops requested to meet Mr Hichilema.
President Lungu authorised and encouraged the bishops to visit Mr Hichilema.