The DRC National Assembly met on March 15, 2007 for the opening of their first ordinary session at the Palais du Peuple in Kinshasa, which was attended by many political personalities from MONUC and the international community. During his opening address, Assembly President Vital Kamerhe spoke of the many challenges that lie ahead for the country.
After two extraordinary National Assembly sessions, principally to put in place the legislative chamber, and to approve the government’s progamme as well as its subsequent installation, the opening of the Assembly’s first session conformed to article 115 of the DRC constitution.
In his address to the deputies, Mr. Kamerhe underlined the Assembly’s will to ‘make the National Assembly a space for free expression for all political forces.’
“This is to be found in the concreteness and cohesion that is being shown between the parliamentary majority and the opposition, which is one example. I sincerely vow that this spirit of solidarity and national reconciliation, and this ardour to work will accompany us right until the end of our mandate.”
He added that the Assembly needs to ‘merit the confidence of the Congolese people who have chosen us as their representatives.’
He then spoke on the challenges that lie ahead.
“It is evident that the laborious work that the National assembly must buckle down to is principally in the matters of legislation, with three main imperatives.”
These are continuation of the electoral process, with the holding of the urban, municipal and local elections, the putting in place of certain republican institutions in which the structures, organisation and functions will be fixed by the law, and the adoption of the laws that will permit the government to best execute their programme of action.
In order to achieve these imperatives, the President stressed the need for the definition and adoption of the decentralization and budget laws, as well as the adoption of the law that will define the statute of the political opposition in the DRC.
In relation to the budget for 2007, the President said that the Assembly ‘must act quickly.’
“The five main programmes of action of President Kabila are well known, and we must concentrate the money where it is most needed with the aim of rehabilitating the people, which is rightly considered as the motor for all development,” he said.
The President also stressed the importance of good governance.
“As you know, our mission to legislate adds to the control of the government, public enterprises and the establishment of public services. As I have underlined, the action of the National Assembly in relation to control should have as its principal objective the fight against political immorality which threatens our society, as well as corruption, fraud and misuse of public funds.”
Within this framework he welcomed the visit of European Union and World Bank representatives who stressed the importance of the installation of good governance, ‘which is a prerequisite for good justice’.
“We need to all fight for the coming of a state of rights where good governance will be the key word for the improvement of the lives of our compatriots,” he underlined.
In addition he spoke on the fight against impunity, which is an important aspect of good governance.
“We need to prove to the people that we have buried the impunity of the 2nd Republic.”
He also hailed the work accomplished by MONUC, and invited the international actors to continue to help the armed forces of the Democratic Republic of Congo in order to remove all pockets of insecurity in the country.
“I also cannot forget the prestigious visit of UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon to the Assembly, as well as the support of the international community to the process of democratisation that is in the process of being achieved in the Democratic Republic of Congo.”
Furthermore, the opening of the first session of the DRC National Assembly was also attended by delegations from the National Assemblies of Gabon and Angola, who in their speeches applauded the DRC for all the progress achieved over the last year, and expressed great hope for the future.