Nation: Opening speech by Mr Karim Méckassoua of the first ordinary session of the National Assembly for the year 2017

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The Central African Republic is at a turning point in its history. What has been playing over the past few weeks in the territory of the Republic, especially in Ouaka and around it, will determine our future for a long time.
Will the serious abuses committed on the population stop? Can our populations hope to regain tranquility in the very near future? Will peace be there? Will the perpetrators and those responsible, I mean « all perpetrators and perpetrators », serious crimes committed and continuing to commit themselves be effectively apprehended, prosecuted and punished? From this point of view the national representation welcomes the appointment of the PROSECUTOR to the Special Criminal Court. Will our country regain the sense of national concord, which is the condition for its economic recovery?
Prime Minister, Head of Government;
Presidents of the Institutions of the Republic;
Members of the Government;
Distinguished Heads of Diplomatic and Consular Missions and Representatives of International Organizations;
Honorable Members;
Mr. President of the Special Delegation of the City of Bangui;
Distinguished guests;
Ladies and gentlemen ;
It is in this uncertain context, and with these serious issues that the National Assembly, conscious that the first aspiration of the Central African people is a just peace, begins this first ordinary session of the year 2017.
In these serious times, I thank you all for making the effort to honor this opening ceremony of your respective presences.
I want to see in your decision to be here today, in the house of the people, more than a decision of protocolary convenience. I also want to see the commitment of the representatives of the people to resolutely confront the immediate perils of our country and the challenges of all kinds that our country faces. I want to see also the commitment of all our guests present to work in this direction with the Representatives of the people, each institution in its role and each authority in its place.
But, I would emphasize, such an attitude, which means unity in diversity, can not be decreed.
We must want it; The will to build it; To translate it into the reality of the functioning of our institutions, all on the basis of mutual respect and trust.
If I insist so much on this element, it is because from this point of view the rupture is still slow to be reflected in our words and our actions. The culture of suspicion is still there, alive. The syndrome of destabilization also.
Political violence, and violence itself, continue to characterize our political manners. All of this creates a deleterious political atmosphere and a deplorable inter-institutional climate in which the debate of ideas, as well as democratic and responsible expression, are stigmatized.
A political atmosphere and an institutional climate where rumor, gossip, incitement to hatred and vengeance are kings.
Let us take care! All this can only further weaken the foundations of our State and our Republic. All this can only delay our recovery. The Central African state is still fragile, very fragile. We all know that. We have more than ever the imperative duty to do everything in our power to avoid adding to the security crisis a political and institutional crisis that our compatriots do not need.
President of the National Assembly, this is the line of conduct that I have always set myself. I pledge today, before you and the people of the Central African Republic, not to deviate from it.
I do not doubt, however, that the whole National Assembly will demonstrate, during this very important session, that this line of conduct is also its own.
Honorable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen;
Distinguished guests;
Ladies and gentlemen ;
That this session is very important, as I said before, I do not need to convince you. Are we not at this period of our history when all the problems are both urgent and vital?
Among the first strong elements of this session, there will be the renewal of the office of the National Assembly.
Under the relevant provisions of our new Rules of Procedure, recently voted by our Assembly and validated by the Transitional Constitutional Court, the office of the National Assembly is the governing body of the parliamentary institution.
With the exception of the President who is elected for the entire term of the legislature, the term of office of the members of the Bureau shall be renewed each year during the week following the opening of the first ordinary session. That is what Article 69 of our Constitution provides.
As candidatures for the election of the members of the Bureau are open, each deputy has the right and the freedom to compete.
I insist that the competition which will be undertaken following these candidatures be dignified and loyal, respectful of the people and of the noble institution to which we all belong.
Honorable Members, Ladies and Gentlemen;
Distinguished guests;
Ladies and gentlemen ;
This ordinary session is not merely a matter of changing the bureau and of bringing personalities to bear responsibilities. For three months, our agenda will be loaded with texts to be debated and adopted, capacity-building workshops, study missions abroad and within the country, dialogues with the Executive, and Missions to monitor the Government’s action.
That will be the essence of our work. We look forward to getting there. And I wager that, as we have already shown in the preceding months, we will deploy all our energies, our collective intelligence, and all the rigor of which we are capable.
And that, so that the word HAPPINESS is not just a dream for the Central African people, so that it becomes the reality of the daily lives of our fellow citizens.
It’s our duty. It is our responsibility.
With that, I declare open the first ordinary session of the National Assembly for the year 2017.

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