UPND deputy secretary general Patrick Mucheleka says it is unfortunate that the Zambia Correctional Services (ZCS ) Commissioner General Chisela Chileshe is a Patriotic Front cadre who wants to bar opposition from campaigning.

Last week, Chileshe said opposition parties that did not support President Edgar Lungu would not be allowed to enter correctional facilities.

He said he would do whatever it took to help President Lungu and the government.

“If there are people in Southern regions here who have a negative altitude and not seeing the works that your government has done and they are able to see vividly with their eyes and they are able to hear what you have done and they are unable to attend to this important function, I would close the house in which they enter. Because they are not representing the people of Monze but they are representing themselves and this can be seen by what has been transformed. We are talking about Livingstone where you are constructing the first ever female prison, we are talking about Katombora where the renovations have been done. We are talking the same Monze where we are told is the household for some people,” said Chileshe

“And they can see what is there and I wonder what they would do when you come to open such a huge investment. This is what we have seen by the so called politicians that even if you see development coming in your area, you are unable to appreciate. What type of hatred is that? And that is the reason why, your Excellency, my officers who are in uniform and trained to be loyal have been directed that we will never entertain anyone to enter in this facility if they are unable to support you…We have moved from prisons to correctional facilities. A directive to our officers is that we must pay back by working hard. We can only say thank you and we will do what we can to help your leadership. We will do what we can to help your party. We will do what we can to help your government.”

But commenting on this in an interview, Mucheleka said there was a scheme to use prisoners as a mechanism to rig elections.

“It is very unfortunate that he can choose to involve himself in politics. He clearly took a political position and took a swipe at the opposition especially at the UPND president Hakainde Hichilema. This comes at a time when prisoners will be allowed to vote and he is talking about how he is going to ensure that he does everything possible to help President Edgar Lungu. Clearly, he is off-side. And I want to advise him to take a leaf of what is happening in Malawi where against all odds, there was a change of government. And even here in Zambia, it is inevitable that we have a new government and President,” said Mucheleka.

“It becomes extremely difficult to have professionals in the organs of government because most of them have been politicized. They are working as if they are an extension of the PF. Those remarks were being made in front of the President and he didn’t do anything to admonish him. It means we have a PF cadre as a commissioner general. He has made it awkward for the Electoral Commission of Zambia and all of us. He is saying that the opposition will not be allowed to have access to the voters in prison. This is why we are against the idea of prisoners voting even if there was a court ruling. You can see that there is a scheme to use prisoners as a mechanism to rig elections.”