DRC: The Congolese Church speaks of an electoral hold-up but validates the election of Tshisekedi

The opposition is calling on the population to demonstrate this Saturday, January 20, the day of the president’s inauguration.

The National Episcopal Conference of Congo (Cenco) has finally made public its analysis of the pollsresidential and legislative from December 20 (and until December 27 in certain polling stations).

The text, debated for long hours at the beginning of the week by Cardinal Ambongo, the archbishops and the bishops, was eagerly awaited both by the opposition, who hoped for support for their movement to protest the elections, and by the government which is renewed and who feared being vilified by a text from the powerful Congolese Catholic Church.

DRC: the Catholic and Protestant churches are up in arms against the president of the Ceni

The chancelleries, especially Western ones, which were generally content to take note of the election of Félix Tshisekedi (with the notable exception of Belgium which was complimentary of the brilliantly re-elected President of the Republic) did not hide their impatience . The United States ambassador did not hesitate to invite Cardinal Ambongo before the text was finalized…

Finally, it was this Thursday, January 18 that Cenco made this text public. The title is evocative: “He who commits fraud shall not dwell in my house” (Psalm 101:7).

In their observations, based on the work of the electoral observation mission (MoE) carried out jointly by Catholics and Protestants, the Congolese bishops recall the determination of the people to believe and to expect “from these elections opportunities to mark a good start to governance and peacebuilding…”

But they immediately add clear observations on the “competent bodies responsible for ensuring the regularity of elections, in particular the CENI and the Constitutional Court”. They thus evoke “irregularities and incidents whose scale and extent make the elections of December 20, 2023 an electoral disaster”, these last three words appearing in bold on the text transmitted by Cenco.

DRCongo: bishops urge to “do everything possible to avoid a parody of elections”

They add that “these elections were characterized, in general, by fraud, large-scale corruption, vandalism of electoral materials, incitement to violence, illegal possession of electronic voting devices (DEV), the buying of consciences, intolerance, immodesty, attack on human rights, human life and the dignity of people going so far as to publicly humiliate women”.

The charge is terrible, commensurate with the image this non-election has sent. The bishops point out the responsibility of the CENI for its “obstinacy with regard to the constraints of which it was nevertheless aware”. They further emphasize, the passage is also in bold in the text, “an impressive number of parallel votes with voting machines found in private homes”. Before falsely questioning: “Some people wonder if there was not planning somewhere at the level of the organizing power”…

Denunciation and validation

All the findings point to a gigantic cheating. The bishops still mention the ballot papers which circulated outside the CENI, the refusal of this same CENI to hear calls for an independent audit of the electoral register, the absence of mapping of polling stations, etc.

The path of the cross of the poll organizers does not end there. They speak openly about the lack of credibility of this pseudo-democratic exercise, again noting “that at the current stage, there are only more or less 6% of deputies from the opposition” and adding (in bold) : “This situation carries a great risk of returning to a single-party system, which would be a major setback for our emerging democracy.”

These observations made, the Cenco nevertheless ratifies the election of Félix Tshisekedi, in an enthusiasm which seems to deny the entire mission that they had given themselves. They thus address the president by bringing him “our contribution likely to help him succeed in this second and final mandate for the interest of the Congolese people”.

Call to demonstrate

At the same time as this exit, three opponents Martin Fayulu, Moïse Katumbi and Floribert Anzuluni held a remote press conference this Thursday early in the afternoon, Moïse Katumbi being prevented from leaving Katanga, to call on the Congolese to demonstrate on Saturday on the entire territory. “There is no large demonstration with a planned itinerary that would inevitably be banned or targeted by the police or the government militias armed with machetes and who act with complete impunity., explains Martin Fayulu. “The Congolese people have been ridiculed,” continued Moïse Katumbi who insisted on this “non-election constructed using a stealing machine”.

DRC: Poll, Cenco and ECC sound the alarm

The three men notably recalled some results “amazing” of this “electoral robbery”like the ridiculously low score collected by Fayulu in the central Kongo province (8,544 votes) or his 210,000 out of 1.7 million available in Kinshasa, where, according to CENI figures, Tshisekedi won 1.4 million of votes.

In Katanga, “granted” to Katumbi in the presidential election, voters would have, again according to the only electronic minutes transmitted by the Ceni, voted massively in the legislative elections for candidates from the power platform. Which makes the three speakers targeting the Tshisekedi camp say that “They could have at least tried to cheat intelligently.”

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