2016-10-02 12:29:00

Bishops in DRC press for broader participation in national dialogue

Catholic Bishops in the Democratic Republic of Congo Saturday issued a communique clarifying reasons for suspending their participation in the ongoing national dialogue. Last week, the Catholic Bishops withdrew from the national dialogue after clashes that started on 20 September lead to deaths in the capital Kinshasa.  

According to a Conférence Episcopale Nationale du Congo (CENCO) statement, the Bishops want broader participation and conditions that are more inclusive before they can rejoin the dialogue.

“The bishops continue to support this dialogue, but wish that all parties, including minorities, are represented,” read the statement circulated to the French Africa Service of Vatican Radio.

The Bishops’ statement came on the same day as the AP news agency quoted  Congo's electoral commission President saying a national election, originally scheduled for November this year, was now likely to take place at the end of 2018, a two-year delay. The announcement from the electoral body is likely to cause more unrest in the country.

Corneille Nangaa said Saturday that voter registration lists wouldn't be ready until July 2017 and the commission then needs 504 days to organise the vote. His comments come after dozens died last week in Kinshasa when security forces clashed with anti-government demonstrators opposed to the Presidential election delay.

President Joseph Kabila's political future has been a source of tension. His mandate was supposed to end in December. Opposition leaders accuse him of delaying elections to keep power.

A high court has said Kabila can stay in office until a new leader is elected.

(Vatican Radio /AP)

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