AFRICA/CONGO - First Justice and Peace Commission in Brazzaville archdiocese committed to promoting fair management of national resources

Monday, 8 March 2004

Brazzaville (Fides Service) - Space for the laity and promotion of national development are the aims of the newly instituted Justice and Peace Commission in Brazzaville archdiocese which held its first meeting on March 4. The President of the Commission Rev. Mesmin Massengo, rector of Emile Biayenda Major Seminary, has a doctorate in Canon Law from the Urban University in Rome and was recently appointed judicial vicar for Brazzaville archdiocese.
The Commission members are: Vice President Alphonse Ayessa; general secretary Raoul Sika; general secretary adjunct in charge of Communications Médard Samba-Tsinda; Bursar Scholastique Dianzinga. Two lay office workers: Imelda Elengabéka Dieudonné Loutangoude.
Among the urgent situations requiring the Commission’s attention, the consequences of wars in Congo (1993, 1997, 1998-99), which left a fragile social-economic tissue. The Commission will also focus on how to guarantee basic services (water, electricity, conditions in hospital), regular payment of salaries and pensions and how to address the problem of spreading resource to witchcraft.
This year the Commission will concentrate on 3 activities: animation in parishes, formation of Justice and Peace animators and assistance to prisoners in Brazzaville Penitentiary, for whom a professional rehabilitation programme has been started.
In Congo, particularly in the capital Brazzaville, there is a strong contrast between oil profits for a few and spreading poverty affecting most of the people of Congo. The Church started to analyse the question of oil, in theory a source of development, but in actual fact the cause of an ever greater unbalance between rich and poor.
Fair management of Congo’s natural resources was the subject of a meeting for Bishops’ Justice and Peace Commissions from six ACERAC countries (Association of Bishops Conference Central African Region), at N’Djamena (Chad) 17 to 22 November 2003. The delegates including Rev. Mesmin Massengo, shared experience of promoting social justice in their countries, all potentially rich but afflicted by progressive impoverishment cause by bad management of natural resources. (M.S.T) (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 8/3/2004, righe 36 parole 396)