AFRICA/DR CONGO - The opposition rejects "national dialogue" and announces a day of protest

Monday, 22 August 2016 elections   bishops  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - The coalition of the Congolese opposition "Rassemblement" has announced that it will participate in the "national dialogue" convened on August 23 by the mediator of the African Union to facilitate the holding of peaceful elections in the Democratic Republic of Congo.
By qualifying the invitation of the mediator as "a provocation" the opposition has called a day of protest for August 23.
The Catholic Church seeks on its behalf to invite all the parties to dialogue to prevent the political crisis from degenerating into violence.
"Small steps have been made and others can be done, hoping that through dialogue one can overcome misunderstandings" said the Secretary General of the Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of Congo (CENCO) Don Leonard Santedi, at the end of a meeting on 15 August between the Bishops and a delegation of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to try to relaunch inclusive national dialogue launched by President Joseph Kabila.
The DRC is going through a serious political crisis due to the long delay in the preparation of the presidential, political and local elections. In particular the political and presidential elections should be held, according to the Constitution, by the end of the year, but INEC has not yet established the date of the consultation and has instead presented a timetable for the revision of the electoral lists for at least 11 months. In fact the elections have been postponed for about a year.
Don Santedi called on the majority and opposition "to give priority to the interests of the nation and do everything to prevent chaos in the Country". "We need to hold on to this hope - he added, because if this fails, there will be a violent confrontation".
The President of INEC, Corneille Naanga, assured the Bishops that within a week the program of the revision of the electoral rolls will be published and praised the contribution of the Church. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 22/08/2016)

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