CHIEF Government spokesperson Kampamba Mulenga has dismissed as untrue media reports suggesting that State House is dictating who should visit treason-charged United Party for National Development president Hakainde Hichilema at Mukobeko Maximum Correctional Facility.
Some online publications purported that State House gave authority to former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Commonwealth secretary general Patricia Scotland to visit Mr Hichilema.
Ms Mulenga said contrary to the media assertions, Mr Obasanjo and Ms Scotland, who were in the country recently, only indicated to President Lungu their plans to visit Mr Hichilema at Mukobeko.
She said in a statement issued yesterday that the two visitors’ indication on their intended visit to Mr Hichilema was in line with diplomatic etiquette where international dignitaries indicate their programmes to the host Government.
“Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo and Commonwealth secretary general Patricia Scotland, however, indicated to His Excellency the President Edgar Lungu when they paid a courtesy call on him that they wished to visit Mr Hichilema,” Ms Mulenga said.
She said visitations to any person in a correctional facility, including Mr Hichilema, are authorised by prisons authorities in line with prison regulations.
She said Mr Hichilema, or any other suspect, or prisoner, receives guests on a daily basis, with permission from prison authorities, and not State House authorities.
Ms Mulenga also advised the media to always cross-check facts with relevant authorities before publishing their stories to avoid misleading and misinforming the public.
“Government values the role the media plays in nation building, hence the need for them to remain factual, ethical and professional in carrying out their role of informing, educating and entertaining the public,” she said.