AFRICA/GABON - "Let us say no to violence" urge the Bishops, while the situation remains tense

Wednesday, 25 January 2017 bishops   politics  

Libreville (Agenzia Fides) - "The current situation in our country is very worrying and calls us all into question" say the Catholic Bishops of Gabon in the message published at the end of the Plenary Assembly of the Bishops' Conference.
Gabon is going through a profound political and social crisis after the election of President Ali Bongo Ondimba, criticized by the opponent, Jean Ping, during the consultation on 27 August (see Fides 1 and 3/09/2016). The situation was so tense that on September 11 Pope Francis had appealed so that all parties renounce violence (see Fides 14/09/2016).
A Gabonese opposition delegation went to Brussels on 24 January to remind the European Union of its responsibility to ask for a recount of the presidential elections after a report of European observers, published in December, said that there was an "opaque process" in the counting operations.
The situation remains tense but has not degenerated, to the point that in their first 2017 message, the text of which was sent to Agenzia Fides, the Bishops urge the Gabonese to vigilance: "Be very careful! Be brave".
The Bishops appeal to all believers, Christians, Muslims and those who belong to traditional religions, so that they are not manipulated by unscrupulous politicians, urging all to "say no to violence". An appeal that is aimed in particular to young people, defined as "the future of the Country", who are asked to "live in reconciliation with God and with one another", in order not to "compromise your future, because once hatred is sown in the heart, it is difficult to eradicate". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 25/01/2017)