AFRICA/GUINEA BISSAU - “Moral integrity, honesty and competence”: Bishops outline the profile of the ideal candidate for legislative elections

Tuesday, 2 March 2004

Bissau (Fides Service) - “The legislative elections at the door. Guidelines from the Bishops of Guinea Bissau in the light of the Word of God and the Social Teaching of the Church” is a letter issued by the Church in Guinea Bissau with indications in view of legislative elections on 28 March. Quoting Psalm 101 the Bishops “outline the profile of an ideal politicians whose behaviour is cased on perfect moral integrity and firm commitment against injustice ”.
“Christians must follow the teaching of the Church with regard to certain values: moral integrity, honesty and competence as servants of society; respect for the sacred and inviolable character of human life; respect for religion and freedom to profess and practice faith; promotion of the dignity of the human person without discrimination of class, gender, ethnic origin; respect for the family the shrine of life, founded on marriage which the state has to duty to support, defend, protect so it may fulfil its mission.”.
The Bishops recall “in its social teaching the Church takes inspiration from the Word of God to give guidelines for politicians and governors, public administrators and ordinary citizens in the exercise of their civil rights and in collaborating with the leaders of the nation”.
Urging Christians to take part in the elections, the Bishops say “in the present situation in Guinea Bissau elections are most important”. In fact the country has come through a civil war 1998-99, and a bloody coup in September 2003. “The elections at this delicate time in the life of the country, offer us a good opportunity to overcome the impasse and create the conditions for a radical change in the style of government, through voting persons of competency and honesty whose programmes give priority to promoting the common good. The poor and suffering people of Guinea have the right to expect those who win the elections to serve the country with a sense of responsibility and who do not take advantage of their position and public money to grow rich illegally to the detriment of the poor, with fraudulent and evil means ”.
The Bishops conclude with a call “to political leaders to give priority to measures to restore authentic peace”. Lastly the Bishops urge “candidates to respect the values of truth and peace and tolerance so that the election campaign will be peaceful without resorting to physical violence or threats or intimidation.”. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 2/3/2004, righe 40parole 473)