AFRICA/DR CONGO - “Empathise more with the sufferings of the people”: local Bishops say political impasse must be overcome

Monday, 24 April 2017 politics   bishops  

Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides)- The appointment of Bruno Tshibala as Premier of the Democratic Republic of Congo “is a distortion of the New Year’s Eve Agreements” the Catholic Bishops of DR Congo declare in a statement sent to Fides.
According to the Agreements the Premier was to be designated in a consensual way by the Opposition, but the latter became divided. President Joseph Kabila appointed as Prime Minister Tshibala, a member of only one part of the Opposition. The appointment the bishops say is “a distortion of the New Year’s Eve agreements and explains the persistence of the crisis”.
Political impasse threatens to prevent the enactment of one of the fundamental points of the agreements signed on 21 December 2016: the holding of presidential, legislative and provincial elections before December 2017.
The impasse is the result not only of the failure to appoint with the consensus of all sides the Premier of the national unity government, but also of the fact that the Opposition failed to agree on the name of the chairman of the Control Committee for the enactment of the New Year’s Eve Agreements. The latter, on the basis of the agreements signed on 31 December was to be the President of the Rassemblement, formation of the main Opposition parties. The death of Étienne Tshisekedi (see Fides 2/2/2017), leader of the Rassemblement, reopened the question of this important figure of guarantee.
President Kabila asked the political forces “to accelerate talks for the consensual designation of a person to preside the structure”, leaving the door open for the appointment of someone not from the Rassemblement. Whereas the Bishops insisted on an appointment with the consensus of all sides of a member of the Rassemblement, because in their view “exiting from the political compromise reached by the parties would represent a violation of the New Year Eve’s agreements”.
The message underlines lastly that political impasse is aggravating the already precarious economic and security conditions in RDC, lamenting in particular the situation in Kasai “where in the archdiocese of Kananga and in the dioceses of Mbujimayi, Luebo and Luiza cruel fighting is reported between police forces and militiamen of Kamuina Nsapu”.
In this situation “CENCO (Catholic Bishops’ Conference of DR Congo) urges political and social leaders to empathise more with the suffering of the Congolese people”. (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides 24/4/2017)