LADIES AND GENTLEMEN, Good morning. Allow me to thank you for coming to the press briefing on the security situation in the Republic of Zambia. This statement is somewhat long overdue given the various events with a bearing on public security and safety that my Government has had to deal with over the last few months. At the beginning of the year 2018, for example, our country was ravaged by a severe Cholera outbreak, which occurred almost concurrently with a severe partial drought. The later might have a significant impact on our crop yields and food security. We also experienced a slight deterioration in public safety as we again witnessed a series of ritual killings and a general spike in crime, especially in the high density residential areas of the city of Lusaka. In the rural areas, illegal exploitation of natural resources, especially the mukula tree and illegal gold mining require close attention to prevent wanton destruction of our precious Natural Resources. Equally of concerned is the continued drift towards illegal conduct by groups opposed to the democ 2 its regulations that govern trading in the cities and towns. My Government has to that end successfully restored the observance of the Public Health Act, its regulations, and Law and Order in general. Ladies and Gentlemen, given the success of the operations mounted by the Defence and Security personnel, allow me to commend our gallant women and men in uniform for A JOB WELL DONE. They accomplished their mission and helped restore order in the Central Business Districts of our cities and towns. The Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, His Excellency, President Edgar Chagwa Lungu has since directed the defence personnel to return to their regular duties of protecting our territorial integrity and playing their usual supportive role to our security institutions. Our gallant troops accordingly stood down from the urban operations with effect from the midnight of 23rd March, 2018. It should be noted, however, that the Internal Security personnel shall continue to vigorously enforce law and order in our cities and towns. The withdrawal of the Defence personnel, therefore, should not result in the return to the dark days of unregulated street vending, which undermines Public Security and Personal Safety of law abiding members of the public. The Internal Security Services led by the Zambia Police Service have 3 therefore taken over the regular patrols in our cities and towns. These institutions must ensure that everyone upholds the Public Health Act and indeed Law and Order in general. To entrench lawful and orderly trading in our cities and towns, the Internal Security Agencies shall help build the Capacity of the Local Authorities for vigorous and sustainable enforcement of the Public Health laws and regulations. Trading in our cities and towns therefore has to be carried out within the confines of the law and in an orderly manner. Ladies and Gentlemen, other security operations aimed at curbing the illegal harvesting and mining of the Mukula trees and gold respectively continues in the same manner as before. Our security officers in the border areas have, however, been directed to remain alert and curb all the transnational crimes, including human trafficking. Ladies and Gentlemen, my Government has also observed with concerned the tendency to promote lawlessness and anarchy by groups opposed to our democratically elected Government. I must therefore send a timely warning. Accommodation of divergent views does not mean providing space to individuals and groups bent on sowing seeds of discord in the country by spreading falsehoods and promoting anarchy. Our democratic dispensation 4 does not include providing platforms to demagogues and intolerant groups bent on taking political power through any means. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, Spreading falsehoods in Zambia has assumed epidemic proportions, with disgruntled politicians even casting doubts on the loyalty and commitment of Her Honour the Vice President, to the Patriotic Front, President Lungu and indeed our country. Her Honour the Vice President, Mrs. Mutukwa Wina, however, remains resolute in her commitment to Zambia, the Patriotic Front, and indeed the leadership of President Lungu. The entire leadership of the Patriotic Front and the Government remains united and focussed on fighting poverty and hostile cliques bent on undermining the development of Zambia and its people for their selfish gain. Given the low levels to which disgruntled political elements are willing to stoop to, as Minister responsible for internal security, I have a duty to provide timely advice to those whose conduct is bordering on criminality. Unlawful conduct in the name of politics, including spreading falsehoods by any persons or groups shall, henceforth be dealt with decisively in accordance with the law, and without fear or favour. 5 Fellow Citizens, Ladies and Gentlemen, despite the existence of persons, groups and organisations dedicated to promoting anarchy in our country and tarnishing its image and that of the leadership, the overall security situation in the country remains stable. The Security institutions shall continue to monitor the activities of disgruntled and undemocratic elements bent on undermining our governance institutions and law and order. Anyone found wanting shall therefore be brought to book. We must as a people ensure that our conduct is at all times within the confines of the law. The Government remains committed to preserving and deepening our democracy. Every Zambian can help the deepening of democracy by being truthful and honest in all our debates and engagements. It is possible to debate national issues without spreading falsehoods, demeaning and dehumanising other citizens. Let us debate freely, but with respect for each other and decorum expected in our culture and indeed in any civilised society. Fellow citizens, we have a duty to work together and entrench democratic tenets in our politics. We can all play our different roles within the confines of the law and our rich cultural backgrounds. My Government therefore remains committed to the rule of law and the preservation of the integrity of our governance and security institutions. This calls for discipline for all of us 6 privileged to work in the different governance and security institutions. We must also guard against our institutions falling prey to manipulation by special interest groups focussed solely on entrenching their narrow economic interests at the expense of our people. Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, We must uphold the laws of our land at all times to be a successful and prosperous nation in line with Vision 2030. It is also essential to do everything we can to ensure our country retains its reputation as an oasis of peace and shining example of peace and stability. Our peaceful nature as a people and the stability of our country are key pillars of our development and prosperity. Any attempts to derail public order by disgruntled elements are bound to fail. Our country therefore remains peaceful. Law abiding members of the public should carry on with their lives. We can enhance our security further, however, by reporting any suspicious and clandestine activities to law enforcement agencies. That is essential to deny criminals and disgruntled elements room to undermine the peace and stability of our country. The Security institutions shall continue to defend and protect our governance institutions and indeed our civilised way of life. 7 Distinguished Ladies and Gentlemen, thank you for your attention, and allow me to wish the injured in the traffic accidents reported during the Easter Holidays a quick recovery. In the same vein may I extend my condolences to the families of those who unfortunately lost their lives, May the Souls of our departed fellow citizens Rest in Peace.