Democratic Republic of the Congo: A Dangerous Dead-end

Source: FSSPX News

The bishops of the Episcopal Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Fidele Nsielele, Marcel Utembi et Fridolin Ambongo.

The National Bishops’ Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (CENCO) has put an end to their mediation between those in power and their opponents. The bishops say that it is the responsibility of the head of state to pursue the negotiations.


The bishops of the Democratic Republic of the Congo have withdrawn from their position as mediators for the implementation of the St. Sylvester agreement, and deplore the fact that the discussions held in the Inter-diocesan Center of Kinshasa have not obtained satisfactory results for the population: “The lack of a sincere political will and the inability of political and social actors to come to a compromise,” has made it impossible to come to an agreement, declared Archbishop Marcel Utembi Tapa, Archbishop of Kisangani and president of the Bishops’ Conference of the Democratic Republic of the Congo.

The obstacles that brought negotiations for the implementation of the December 31 agreement to a standstill have to do with the modalities for designating a Prime Minister, who must be chosen among the ranks of the opposition, and for designating the president of the Council for the Supervision of the Agreements.

There are disagreements on this point not only between the majority and the opposition, but even within the opposition.

In conclusion, the CENCO “appeals to the personal implication and responsibility of the head of State as guardian of the nation, to hasten the speedy implementation of the St. Sylvester agreement.” According to this compromise, the Congolese head of State – whose term came to an end on December 20 – can remain in office, but he must nominate a Prime Minister from the Rally, the main opposition group.

The consequences of the Catholic Church’s mediation in the political crisis the country is going through were not long in coming: on Sunday, April 2, unknown persons raided the presbytery of Paida, in the city of Beni, in the province of North Kivu. Three priests, including the bursar, were taken in their rooms and tortured. The bandits stole money, computers, and some other goods. It was a miracle that the victims were saved. The neighboring Catholic schools were also ransacked; one of them stored the electoral material of the Independent Electoral Commission. Since then, there has been no end to the anti-Catholic attacks.

According to the DEPADHO- an NGO based in North Kivu, in the east of the DRC – the goal of these episodes is “to punish” the bishops for their political involvement that led to the St. Sylvester agreement.

Sources: Jeune Afrique/Fides – 4/25/17