AFRICA/CONGO DRC - Bishops cancel the march of February 16 to avoid possible political manipulation

Saturday, 23 January 2016 politics   bishops  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - On 12 January, in a letter addressed to all the Bishops in the country, the National Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo (CENCO) announced that it has decided to cancel the marches it had planned to organize in every diocese , for the "consolidation of democracy", on February 16, 2016, on the anniversary of the "March of Christians" held in Kinshasa in 1992, to demand the reopening of the Sovereign National Conference (CNS), but was violently put down by the regime of the erstwhile dictator Mobutu Sese Seko.
In the letter, the President of CENCO, Bishop of Tshumbe Mgr. Nicolas Djomo, explained the decision to cancel the march because "the initiative has raised contrasting and disproportionate expectations. The Holy See strongly recommended the suspension of initiatives which could be manipulated for political ends. Being conscious that our initiative runs the risk of being hijacked and of possible clashes, it seems wise to defer this march".
"If the Bishops of CENCO have considered reasonable and appropriate to cancel the march of February 16, it is a decision worthy of respect, especially to avoid further bloodshed of innocent people" says a note sent to Agenzia Fides by the Peace Network for Congo. "However - adds the note – it will be necessary to continue to work for civic, social and political education of the population and to exercise a form of control and pressure on the institutions of the Republic: police, local, provincial and national authorities (including the Parliament, the Government and the Presidency of the Republic), in the belief that: freedom of speech, of expression, of assembly and demonstration are inalienable human rights and protected by the Constitution and the acts that follow cannot be considered, as acts of subversion of public order or of institutions; the regular organization of democratic elections, transparent and credible is a constitutional commitment, as is the national defense, the safety of persons and property, justice, the administration of the national territory, the Country's economic prosperity and social well-being of the population, as stated by the G7, in its statement on 14 January". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 23/01/2016)