Kinshasa (Agenzia Fides) - "The Catholic Church is requesting politicians not to use the image of the pope for their positioning", reads the Twitter account of the Catholic Church in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. They voiced their disapproval as a portrait of the pope served as background on a poster prominently featuring Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, presidential candidate of the ruling People’s Party for Reconstruction and Democracy (PPRD). The poster has been doing the rounds on social media for some days now. It read: "Emmanuel Ramazani Shadary, a practicing Catholic".
The PPRD is the party of outgoing President Joseph Kabila, the subject of a strong campaign. The Catholic Church in the DR Congo has been on the frontlines of the battle against a third presidential term for Joseph Kabila in violation of the Constitution. To this end, three protest marches promoted by the Lay Coordination Committee (CLC) took a number of diplomatic measures for the international community to put pressure on the outgoing president and force him to step down.
On 24 September the CLC issued a statement expressing its concern about the regularity of the count of 23 December, in particular the absence of international election observers and the influence exerted by Kabila’s government on the Electoral Commission.
The Bishops also expressed their concerns about the regularity of the vote before the UN Security Council (see Fides 29/8/2018) and the UN Human Rights Council (see Fides 1/10/2018).
In an appeal to the Southern African Development Community (SADC, see Fides 12/9/2018) the Bishops also warned that "In the absence of credible, inclusive and peaceful elections, the Democratic Republic of Congo risks sinking into violence or even chaos that can inflame the entire Great Lakes subregion". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 2/10/2018)