AFRICA/DR CONGO – The Bishops ask for a clear electoral calendar

Thursday, 5 February 2015

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - The silence of President Joseph Kabila on his possible candidacy in the elections of 2016 is disturbing, as stated in an interview with RFI by His Exc. Mgr. Fridolin Ambongo Besungu, Bishop of Bokungu-Ikela and President of the "Justice and Peace" Commission of the Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Kabila, in power since 2001, under the current Constitution cannot present himself for a third term. According to his opponents, Kabila is trying to amend the Constitution, and is postponing the elections to stay in power. Attempts to link the forthcoming elections to a census of the population (which would require several years) have provoked demonstrations on behalf of the opposition and clashes with the police in the capital Kinshasa and other urban centers (see Fides 24/01/2015).
Mgr. Ambongo denounced the arrests of protesters and the fury of the police against the opposition. According to the Bishop, to shed light on the political future of the Country, the Independent Electoral Commission should publish the overall timetable for elections scheduled between 2015 and 2016, as soon as possible which include, in addition to the presidential elections, also parliamentary and local elections. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 05/02/2015)