President EDGAR LUNGU Invokes Article 31 of The Republican Constitution To Reinforce Public Security In Zambia.

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Special address to the nation
By His Excellency Mr. Edgar Chagwa Lungu, President of the Republic of Zambia and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces

5th July, 201

Fellow countrymen and women,
As a country, we have enjoyed peace and tranquility since independence in 1964. Through this peace, we, as a people have been able to build this country to be in a position to provide education, health and other socio-economic amenities in order to ensure that each and every citizen is able to live a life as foreseen by our forefathers.
In the last fifty-three (53) years since our Independence, Zambia has remained a beacon of peace at regional, continental and international levels. This peace we have enjoyed has not come by accident but through our collective responsibility as a people expressed in our motto of “One Zambia, One Nation”.

This is emphasized in our national values and principles highlighted in our constitution namely; morality and ethics; patriotism and national unity; democracy and constitutionalism; human dignity, equity, social justice, equality and non-discrimination; good governance and integrity; and sustainable development. We acknowledge the supremacy of God Almighty and have declared the Republic a Christian nation while upholding a person’s right to freedom of conscience, belief or religion.
These values and principles have helped us remain a unitary, multi-party and democratic sovereign state.
Country men and women,
It is saddening that the peace and tranquility we have cherished this long is slowly being eroded because of a few unpatriotic citizens who have decided to involve themselves in criminal activities thereby endangering the lives and properties of many citizens. The means to secure their livelihood, which in most cases comes with a lot of sacrifices is slowly being compromised in the recent past. In the past few months, the country has experienced unexplained fire out breaks and vandalism of strategic installations bordering on economic sabotage.
Country men and women,

You will recall that in August, 2016, Tambalala market in Bauleni in Lusaka was gutted. This was followed by the gutting of the Mongu Local Court in early 2017. In April, 2017, Luburma market was set ablaze. In the same month, a person was apprehended for attempting to set ablaze the intercity bus terminus in Lusaka.
In a related event, four (4) youths were arrested outside the Lusaka Central Correctional facility with substances capable of causing a fire.
On May 1, 2017, Kafue District Education Board offices were gutted and two (2) containers of petrol were found at the scene. On 1st June, 2017, 10, 000 households were affected in Ndola following the destruction of the ZESCO electricity pylons.
This was followed by a similar act where citizens and industries serviced by the Kafue west - Lusaka west line were affected by the destruction of the ZESCO pylons. Just yesterday (July 4, 2017), Lusaka City market, the country’s largest market was gutted and property worth millions of kwacha was destroyed. Simultaneously, a fire erupted at Lusaka’s Misisi Township market whose target it would seem, was to damage the ZESCO pylons.
Fellow countrymen and women,
You will appreciate that the recent gutting of markets will have untold misery on the poor traders and their families whose livelihoods is largely dependent on the existence of the market. This, therefore, calls for Government to formulate intervening measures to alleviate their suffering. I wish to announce that a Committee of Ministers has been formed to be chaired by the Vice-President which in due course will provide details on the form and nature of assistance that will be provided to those affected.

Apart from the Lusaka City market, I have also requested the Committee to superintend over the rebuilding of the markets that have been affected in a similar nature. I, therefore, call upon the business community, all well-meaning Zambians and residents to support this initiative in whatever form practical. In order to ensure transparency and accountability, all forms of financial support, material or otherwise will be coordinated through the Vice-President’s office of which details will be published shortly.

Fellow countrymen and women,
These events are not mere acts of spontaneous criminality but premeditated acts which if left unchecked could have serious socio-economic consequences capable of drawing the country backwards. As government, you the people have given us the mandate to preside over the affairs of this nation. Therefore, it is our duty to ensure that each and every person in this country enjoys the freedom and protection as enshrined in our constitution.
Following these sad events, my Government has decided to invoke article 31 of the Republican Constitution which guides how a nation should deal with an existing situation which, if allowed to continue may lead to a State of Public Emergency.
There is no doubt in my mind that the intentions of the perpetrators of these irresponsible actions is to make the country ungovernable. As President of this nation, it is my responsibility to respond accordingly to forestall this planned chaos and I will therefore not tolerate this lawlessness.
As Government, we have repeatedly advised our nationals to desist from any irresponsible behaviour and criminality but it would appear that this has fallen on deaf ears. Therefore, practical measures as outlined tonight have had to be invoked.
Fellow countrymen and women,
By the powers vested in me by the Constitution of Zambia, I have issued a Statutory Instrument proclaiming that a situation exists which, if allowed to continue may lead to a State of Public Emergency. This will be tabled in the national assembly in line with article 31(2) for approval. It is my sincere hope that the Members of Parliament will rise to the occasion.
This is not an easy decision to make, but in order to preserve peace, tranquility, safety of our citizens and national security, we had no choice but to take this decision given the events that have occurred in the recent past. The primary responsibility of Government is to protect life and property in our nation.
I wish to emphasize that all law abiding citizens will not be impacted by this decision and should continue to go about their daily routines normally.
I will ensure that the measures to be taken under this proclamation will not inconvenience law abiding citizens. Therefore, this proclamation should not instill fear among our citizens but instead provide a sense of comfort and security.
In conclusion, I appeal to all citizens and the business community to cooperate with Government as this proclamation takes effect.
We will continue to evaluate issues surrounding national security on a regular basis.