ALVIN CHIINGA, Lusaka
ZAMBIA Correctional Services (ZCS) commissioner-general Percy Chato has cautioned the United Party for National Development (UPND) officials against peddling lies that their president Hakainde Hichilema is being denied visitations at Mukobeko Maximum Security Centre in Kabwe.
Mr Chato said in an interview yesterday that the service will not infringe upon the rights of any accused person.
“We are not infringing upon the visitation rights of any accused person. All visits are conducted as per rules contained in Rule 132 (1) and (2) of the Prison Act CAP 97 of the Laws of Zambia,” he said.
Mr Chato said according to the Act, no prisoner will be allowed more than three visitors at a time and that such visits should be done during hours that the officer-in-charge deems right.
He said UPND vice-president Geoffrey Mwamba and two traditional leaders from Southern Province could not be permitted to visit Mr Hichilema on Saturday by authorities at the correctional facility because it was not a visiting day.
Mr Chato, however, said Mr Hichilema’s wife, Mutinta, was permitted to deliver food to the accused person on the same day because the opposition leader is not yet convicted.
He said people intending to visit the treason-charged opposition leader should do so in accordance with the law.
Mr Chato said the law stipulates that visits to Mukobeko Maximum Security Centre of the accused persons by their family and friends should be done on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays.
“The visits are from 09:00 hours to 11:40 hours and from 14:00 hours to 15:40 hours to enable us conduct midday lock-up and final lock-up, respectively,” Mr Chato said.
He said as a service, the commission operates by a system of laws and procedures contrary to what some people think.
On Friday, Mr Hichilema and his five co-accused were transferred to Mukobeko Maximum Security Centre in Kabwe from Lusaka Central Correctional Centre, commonly known as Chimbokaila.
This follows their committal to the High Court for trial after a protracted battle between the State and defence lawyers over preliminary issues.
Mr Chato was reacting to assertions from the UPND camp that access to Mr Hichilema is restricted by authorities in Kabwe.