Mr. Speaker, the Constitution of the Fourth Republic prescribes that the President of the Republic delivers to Parliament a message on the state of the nation at the beginning of each session.
This is what I have come to do.Mr. Speaker, as I look around the House, I see empty seats on he Minority’s side.It is a sad day that members of that side have chosen to absent themselves. It is sad again that they have resorted to this course of action, apparently in reaction to the judgement of a duly constituted court of law.
It is even sadder that they seem to ignore the fact that the due process of going through appeals, as provided for by the Constitution, is yet to be exhausted, in this particular case.Mr. Speaker, I want to use this occasion to ask them to reconsider their withdrawal from the House and come back to play their part to uphold the integrity of the House. I make this appeal in the light of the sincerity with which government is committed to the reconciliation process it has initiated for healing the wounds of the nation and to make for a fresh start.