By Costa Nkomo
MDC leader Nelson Chamisa Friday brought panic among Chikurubi Maximum Prison officers who first blocked him before seeking permission to allow him into the high security compound.
The opposition leader was making a surprise visit to party activists who are serving time for killing a senior police officer during ugly clashes by activists and anti-riot police in Harare’s Glen View suburb back in 2011.
Prison visits by friends and relatives are permissible under Zimbabwean laws for as long as one complies with the conditions set by authorities.
However, Chamisa Friday found he was not like any other visitor to the correctional facility when officials kept him waiting with his aides at the main gate while they took their time to seek clearance with the country’s Home Affairs Ministry.
Chamisa was later allowed in but could not hide his frustrations about being blocked from entering the precincts of the facility.
“It is undesirable and very unfortunate,” said the MDC leader to journalists.
“I am a lawyer I have every right as a lawyer to visit any client whom I wish to visit.
“So if I wish to visit any person, I should also just have the same rights. I am not asking for any privilege.
“I am not asking for any special treatment. I am just asking for an ordinary treatment to be able to have access.
“Now when you have dictatorship around the entry into a prison gate, there is no better drama or dramatisation of manifestation of undesirable circumstances of tyranny.
“So, that was really quite disturbing but fortunately we then ended up seeing them.”
It is however not the first time the MDC leader has been blocked from accessing different places by security in the not too distant past.
Chamisa was in January this year blocked by state security from entering the National Sports Stadium where a musical gala was being staged by local artists in honour of late iconic musician and national hero Oliver Mtukudzi.
Days later, he was briefly barred from Mtukudzi’s Madziva homestead for the latter’s burial.
In March this year, Chamisa and his MDC entourage were blocked by police from visiting parts of Manicaland which had just been ravaged by the deadly Cyclone Idai.