Elections in the DRC: Catholic bishops at the center of all attention

Elections in the DRC: Catholic bishops at the center of all attention

The Cenco has given itself the means to carry out a real observation of this election.

Cardinal Ambongo and Father Nshole exaggerate”. The sentence, uttered by a European diplomat the day after the Christmas celebrations in Kinshasa, seems to demonstrate that a certain international community, in the name of very short-term stability, is ready to roll out the red carpet for the outgoing president, who could once again settle on the throne of Congo without having won the popular vote.

At the heart of this approach is the fear of offending those in power, even if it means passing all the abuse on to them. Even if it means relying on the aspirations of the Congolese people.

We no longer talk to Africa like we did a few years ago, repeats a diplomat, who highlights “the trauma left by repeated coups in the Sahel”.

Faced with this attitude, the Congolese Catholic Church, which has given itself the means to monitor this election, is therefore under high pressure, notably from Washington but also from the chancelleries “that count” in Kinshasa, especially this Tuesday evening, a few hours of the first demonstration announced by part of the opposition which calls for a new vote. “Cardinal Ambongo was not kind to the regime and to this election, but he did it with intelligence and tact. recognizes another diplomat, who refuses the idea that “Africa cannot benefit from the same diplomatic standards as the rest of the world.”

At the same time, the Catholic – and Protestant – Church knows that it is expected by millions of Congolese who were unable to express themselves during this election and who have not forgotten that in 2018, the bishops had contested the “official” results, without daring to break the law which reserves the announcement of the verdict of the elections to the CENI. Today, the bishops have already delayed the announcement of the figures they have collected which may not be in line with those of the CENI. The issue is crucial. Power knows it. He fears popular anger at the announcement of the results he has “prepared”. A standoff is playing out behind the scenes between supporters of respect for voters and supporters of short-term pragmatism which will only increase the appetite of would-be dictators.