AFRICA/CENTRAL AFRICA - Perplexities of the Bishops on the constitutional referendum: "avoid new social and political unrest"

Monday, 26 June 2023 bishops   politics   violence  

Bangui (Agenzia Fides) - "The process of socialization based on the family is in danger in our country", the Bishops of the Central African Republic complain in their closing message to the Plenary Assembly in Bangassou. According to the Bishops "the numerous politico-military crises experienced by our country have destroyed families and compromised education, creating a culture of violence and impunity in a society characterized by individualism and selfishness". These equivalent values are reinforced by social networks and social media that spread "fake news, slander and delusions" and "become a sounding board for the hatred that threatens to explode our community every day". Added to this is "the extreme poverty in which the majority of the population lives, exacerbated by inflation which is leading to a drastic increase in the price of food and essential goods". Meanwhile, the government launched a referendum on the adoption of the new constitution. The bishops recall that the Central African Bishops' Conference had declined the invitation to participate in the Committee charged with drafting the new Constitution (see Fides, 15/9/2022) and doubt its usefulness "given the intense democratic confrontation taken into account in view of the numerous socio-political and economic challenges facing the country". "It must be avoided," the bishops said, "to create the conditions for further socio-political unrest." Rather, "action plans should be developed aimed at restoring peace, social cohesion and job creation" and "learning from past mistakes and promoting equality, justice, fraternity and honesty". Finally, the bishops urge policies in favor of young people who would otherwise be tempted to join the numerous armed and criminal groups in the country, given the lack of prospects. "More than ever we encourage young people to rise up and take charge of their lives and destiny", the Bishops conclude. "In this regard, there is an urgent need to offer them job opportunities, because work is part of dignity". It is therefore important "to create jobs by providing vocational training opportunities and by promoting the development of the agricultural and livestock sectors, small and medium-sized enterprises and access to loans and bank credit". (L.M.) (Agenzia Fides, 26/6/2023)