AFRICA/CONGO DR - Message of the Bishops: "The election process was fraught with serious irregularities, that have put into question the credibility of the published results"

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "From the final report of the Electoral Observation Mission of CENCO and testimonies collected in various dioceses and other sources, today it is noted that the election process took place, in many places, in a chaotic atmosphere. Many errors were detected, proven cases of fraud and probably planned, many fatal incidents that caused death, confusion and, in some places, a climate of terror deliberately maintained and managed to fill the ballot boxes. But this is not all. What is happening now in the compilation of the results of parliamentary elections is unacceptable. It is a shame for our country". This is what the Bishops of the Episcopal Conference of Congo (CENCO) write in the message published at the end of their extraordinary plenary assembly, from 9 to 11 January, concerning the election held on November 28, entitled "Courage of truth" (see 2Cor7, 14 ).
In the Message, which is dated 11 January and was released by DIA, the Bishops say: "The election process was fraught with serious irregularities, that have put into question the credibility of the published results. We ask the organizers to have the courage and honesty to draw the consequences flowing from it. In fact, to admit mistakes is a sign of greatness. But if we consider the risk of continuing to govern the country as a challenge, the internal tensions more or less controlled in the short term, sooner or later would result in a serious crisis and difficult to solve". The Bishops therefore, indicate the path of dialogue in the supreme interest of the nation, and reiterated: "It is time for the courage of truth".
The Bishops rejoice at the evidence of maturity and good citizenship given by the Congolese people to go out to vote, congratulated the government, which was able to finance most of these elections, and thanked the election observers who have gone through several sacrifices to fulfill their task. True to their mission of leading the people of God, the Bishops say: "we will not get tired of denouncing anything that jeopardizes the building of a democratic state. One does not create a rule of law in a culturewhere there is cheating, lying and terror, of militarization and blatant attack on freedom of expression. If democracy is a power of the people, by the people and for the people, we must respect these people".
"We want peace", reaffirms the Congolese Episcopal Conference, but this has needs which cannot be waived: "truth, justice and respect for the people". The Bishops therefore call upon the Congolese people and Catholics as a whole, "to non-violence, because violence calls violence". After some recommendations, the Message ends: "Our Country is currently facing a period of uncertainty and anxiety. Our faith in God and our trust in man, created in God's image, convince us that this uncertainty and this anxiety can be overcome through a change of heart, mind and practice. We need the love of country, willingness to give up selfish interests to seek, through dialogue, ways to build peace in Congo. But we want the peace that is rooted in justice and love of truth. Because the peace of those who have achieved it without justice is illusory and ephemeral". (SL) (Agenzia Fides 13/01/2012)

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