Government says it is ready to work with the church in order to foster unity, peace and harmony if the country is to see development.
Government says its commitment can be seen from its engagement with the Catholic Church in order to continue augmenting existing partnerships between the Church and the State.
Addressing a joint ministerial press briefing at the ministry of Information and media in Lusaka, comprising four ministers, Minister of Technology and Science Felix Mutati disclosed that a delegation of Cabinet Ministers and other senior government officials paid a courtesy call on the President of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops, Bishop Ignacious Chama.
Mr Mutati explained that the purpose of the visit was to address significant national issues, including the relationship between the state and the church.
He said the Ministers also sought to cement peace with the Catholic Church and to clarify that the government is not in competition with the church.
Mr Mutati disclosed that the delegation was led by Infrastructure and Urban Development Minister Charles Milupi, and included himself, as well as Community Development Minister Doreen Mwamba, Minister of Local Government Garry Nkombo, Health Minister Silvia Masebo and Special Assistant to the President for Political Affairs Levy Ngoma.
Mr Mutati said the government delegation reassured the President of the Zambia Conference of Catholic Bishops that the government is not in conflict with the church and is instead seeking guidance from the church on social, political, and economic matters of national interest.
During the press briefing, the Ministers also addressed rumors about President Hakainde Hichilema and senior government officials galvanizing against the church, describing them as false.
Minister of Infrastructure and Urban Development Charles Milupi said that invading private conversations is unacceptable, as the intentions behind such actions are often ill-intentioned.
He said despite sufficient laws in place, dealing with cybercrime and hacking requires specialized personnel, making the issue more complicated to tackle.
And Mr Mutati reiterated that the issue of cyber security and protection of data is also being taken seriously.
He said there is no place to hide for those engaging in criminal activities including forging letters to create division within the country.
Minister of Local Government and Rural Development Garry Nkombo said Archbishop Chama made it clear that it is the duty of the church to speak for the voiceless.
Mr Nkombo said Archbishop Chama assured government during the visit that the church desires the UPND administration to succeed for the benefit of the majority that ushered them into power.
The Minister said government is thoroughly investigating the matter.
Mr Nkombo said government is committed to promoting positive use of social media, and ensuring the protection of citizens’ privacy.
He said cyber security is a critical issue at hand and that government is taking the necessary steps to combat cybercrime and protect data.
The minister said the law enforcement wing will deal with the issues at hand in the most professional and advanced manner.
“We cannot tolerate those who engage in criminal activity, and we are working towards promoting peace and unity within our country,” said Mr Nkombo.
Minister of Health Silvia Masebo said government will endeavor to work with the church and that government is not in competition with the church.
The Minister has called upon the church to help government unite the country.
Ms Masebo urged members of the public to desisist from abusing the media to promote hate speech and division.