DRC: The Catholic Church resumes its fight against the excesses of the regime

Cardinal Ambongo did not hide his fear of an authoritarian drift in the power of Félix Tshisekedi.

The Catholic Church has finally awakened,” says Judith, a young fifty-year-old from Kinshasa, without hiding her joy. “Cardinal Ambongo, who had until now been quite positive towards the power of Félix Tshisekedi despite the obvious cheating during the December elections, has finally whistled the end of recess,” continues Jean-Jacques , her husband.

Both were present Wednesday morning at Kinshasa Cathedral to pay a final tribute to MP Chérubin Okende, spokesperson for the Ensemble pour la République party of Moïse Katumbi, found dead in his car on the morning of July 13, 2023. A death presented, seven months later, as a suicide by the Attorney General at the Court of Cassation Firmin Mvonde.

A version which hardly convinced as the elements indicating an assassination of Chérubin Okende were numerous from the discovery of his body.

DRC: Congolese justice refuses criticism in the Okende case

Cardinal Fridolin Ambongo, who officiated at this tribute ceremony at Kinshasa Cathedral, said nothing else, explaining during his homily: “the incomprehensible conclusion reached by the investigation is the supreme proof , if there was still a need, that the justice system of our country is truly sick”.

Adding, to the loud applause of the faithful: “how can we understand that Chérubin, such a caring father (…) committed suicide by shooting himself and his car after a long walk in town”.

The Catholic Church, which seemed shaken after the electoral chaos of last December, has just resumed its fight against the excesses of the regime, especially since this tribute to Chérubin Okende took place just a few days after the announcement of the lifting of the moratorium on the death penalty in the DRC. “We fear that this lifting of the moratorium will put in the hands of the declared patient (Congolese justice, Editor's note) the formidable weapon to establish terror,” continued the cardinal.

A declaration followed a few hours later by a communiqué from the Episcopal Conference of Congo (Cenco) entitled “You shall not kill”, in which the Congolese Catholic bishops advocate the abolition of the death penalty. “The desire to “rid our country’s army of traitors (…)” can in no way justify the use of capital punishment,” we can read in this text which also evokes “a step backwards in matters of defense of life” and the fact that “the reinstatement of the death penalty reinforces the trivialization of human life”. The bishops take the opportunity to target the serious errors of Congolese justice “plagued by corruption, influence peddling, judicial errors and settling of scores”.

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